Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ticket please

I have always harped about how it isn't so good here. Well, it's just that I am not objective at times. I am not going to talk about all the rosy things here, but just one. What the episode highlights, I will bring out later.


So, I was on a train to London on 23rd evening. I was on my way to Cardiff (Norwich-London-Cardiff 3 hours) to be at my cousin's place during Christmas holidays.


A tall, fat, ugly, black guy took a seat just on the other side of me. The TC was on his way soon and asked this guy for the ticket. The guy says, I bought the ticket, but lost it at KFC. The TC goes, OK, since you dont have the ticket, you have to pay up. Guy says, I don't have money. TC asks for his home number and address, so he can call and verify with someone if you really bought the tickets. The guy gives a phone number and address. TC goes away, comes back after 20 min and tells the guy there is no one at that number. The guy writes down the address again. The TC again finds no one there.


Basically, the guy is just playing around, he hasnt bought any ticket, doesn't want to pay up and still wants to go to London. The TC in all of this dealings, is calm and to the point. The black guy hassles him no end and shouts, screams and swears, is clearly lying, but TC won't come down to his level or start a slanging match.


Finally, TC warns him that he has to pay up or get down at Ipswich station. The guy cockily says "No, I wont get down". The TC warns him again. The guy is adamant. TC calls Ipswich station. "Ipswich, this is the ticket checker on the London train from Norwich. We have a passenger who needs to be taken off the train. The coach number is C. We will reach there in 5 minutes.


At Ipswich the stationmaster, an assistant and 2 policemen immediately gather around our coach. The guy has realised that his game is up. So, walks upto the door. But, now he has company. He is screaming and ranting, but there is only one place he will spend the night. Our train is off without any delay.


The TC comes to us and apologises for losing his cool. Hello, we told him, you did no wrong. You were a paragon of virtue. TC in India (we didnt tell him this) would probably have slapped and punched the guy (if not atleast caught him by scruff of his neck), the police would have gathered and saafed their haath, there would have been incredible commotion. Trains would have got delayed and everyone would complain and crib and have a jolly good time.


What is great is that for everytime the guy tried to play a trick, the TC just stuck by the book. For every excuse, TC followed the rules laid down to the T. When he found he had no option, he called for help. And he was sure, there would be support.


I don't want to generalize, but isn't it that we don't follow the laws or abide by the rules, or do our duty as a citizen because the system lets us down? Why would I wear a helmet, if the traffic police rides a bike bareheaded. Why would I want to register a complaint about an offending motorist, if the police will probably hassle me no end. These are small things, but basically make us cynical and bitter about the system.


Well, the episode, with many others shows you that in UK, the system works. You can proudly engage in the system and not worried about 'repurcussions'. You have issues, they will get addressed. You want to stick to your guns if you are right, you will get support. Only remember, not to abuse your power, coz there will have consequences for that too.
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