Ticket inspector with a heart of gold

Rail tickets are confusing enough for home-grown Brits to understand - so what chance some of the vi

Rail tickets are confusing enough for home-grown Brits to understand - so what chance some of the visitors to this country? Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Sharon Griffiths witnesses a heart-warming episode of kindness on a crowded train.

So there I was on a crowded train from Edinburgh at the start of the long journey to London. A lovely American couple couldn't find their reserved seats. They were so nice and polite and confused that everyone tried to help them. Finally an important-looking man in a pinstripe suit studied their tickets carefully and said 'You're on the wrong train.'

Oh no. Even worse – they were with the wrong train company.

A cloud of gloomy sympathy settled over the compartment as we all realised they could be asked to fork out a few hundred pounds to get replacement tickets.

But people swapped seats and shuffled round so at least they could sit together until the demand came.


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When the ticket inspector came along we all held our breath as he approached the Americans. The American kept his wallet out and said 'We made a mistake. I guess we'll have to pay extra.'

By now, you could almost feel the entire compartment willing the ticket inspector to be nice. There was a long pause. None of us dared speak.

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'Well, we all make mistakes sometimes, sir,' said the ticket inspector. 'First time in Scotland?' The Americans nodded. The ticket inspector scribbled something on the tickets. 'I'll tell my colleague who takes over from me. Have a nice journey.'

And everybody sighed with relief and beamed at each other.

He could, of course, have just been a particularly human ticket inspector. But I like to think he was influenced by the combined telepathy of a whole compartment full of strangers.

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