I was travelling on the bus today on the way to a class and we got stuck in traffic but fortunately, it didn’t last long, nobody got particularly stressed and soon enough, we were on our way, but it did remind me of a similar experience in London last year when I was stuck on the Tube one morning.
Lots of people were staring at the floor desperately avoiding eye contact with each other as you do in London and there were a few passive-aggressive tuts when the driver announced yet another delay due to another reason nobody really cared about. There was the usual sense of bored resignation in the air. And then the train driver made an announcement.
He started smiling. You couldn’t see him on the tannoy obviously. That would just be silly. But he started welcoming us (his passengers) with a most unexpected “Good morning everybody. Welcome to the this wonderful morning on the Circle Line. I know we’re at a bit of a standstill at the moment but just imagine what beautiful glory awaits you when you arrive at your destination in just a few minutes. I hope it will make you as happy as you can possibly be. Have a fantastic day!” And then something rather odd happened. I noticed the person next to me smiling. And then I saw another.
Amidst the headphones, Ipads, books and newspapers, some people had actually heard the train driver (unusual in itself perhaps) and this group of people, myself included, were all smiling, sharing something together that was so full of positive energy, it had overwhelmed us enough to smile and even laugh. Sharing a moment together in the big city. Who’d have thought?!
We all then went on our (now) merry way, looking forward to the day ahead, instilled with a positive energy that had taken us by surprise. Although technically nothing had actually changed. We were all still on our way to work on a grey, wet day in London and the Tube was still delayed, but it somehow now felt easier to deal with. Just a happy demeanour from a train driver who chose to be positive that day. It didn’t really take much.
It may not be a perfect world and sometimes (especially in the city), it’s just a bit too easy to be cynical, but there are good things around and many things to be thankful for. We can all smile more loudly than the cynics if we choose to. It’s there if we look for it. If we’re open to it. We just need to give things, people and perhaps even ourselves a chance. It doesn’t take much. Just ask our train driver…