If not your worst nightmare, it’s probably one that ranks near the very top of the worst nightmare list but on Friday morning, I got pushed and fell down the gap between a London Underground tube train and the platform.
I’d picked up my lovely tourists at the Grosvenor in Victoria and was on a packed out tube train (though barely worse than any other) sand I had my behind against the back doors. It was cosy but the doors closed first time and I’ve certainly been in more uncomfortable positions and in more crowded train carriages.
The first stop was St James, which is probably the quietest underground station in central London and certainly in the poshest area with you might think to be amongst the most civilised transport users.
The doors were just opening, and as usual, no one was on the platform wanting to get on the train and no-one wanting to get off except for one particular idiot man who was in the seating area and who either left it too late or was just an idiot started shouting that people should get off the train before others get on…. he was so far away he didn’t see there was no one getting on and he had a surly attitude that immediately had everyone looking at him.
He just ploughed his way through the people as if they were inanimate objects and possibly even whilst wearing a satchel over his shoulder which is another definite commuter no-no.
I made sure my tourists were safe and out of the way in the corner and was about to step off onto the platform to give the lout some space when he pushed the people in front of me/me and my right leg fell straight down the gap between the platform and train and as I was facing backwards-sideways, most of the rest of me fell onto the platform and my right leg was caught between the stone platform and the undercarriage of the train and got wedged or stuck at exactly an angle that a leg isn’t meant to bend.
The idiot pushed a number of other people off onto the platform too, over me. I was right at the very back carriage away from the driver and it being St James and so quiet, there were no platform staff. Fortunately two or three men grabbed both my arms and hauled me onto the platform and I helped myself too being aware in about 15 seconds I was about to be cut in half or at least three quarters and was hugely lucky not to have fallen totally out of view and onto the super high voltage rail.
The helpers asked if I was ok as I lay on my side and I said I was (I was alive) and I said I’d like to see the idiot who barged through. He being the one person not to help simply said he hadn’t barged through and made off down the platform as all the commuters off and on the train seemed to think it was entirely his fault and were badmouthing him in a polite English sort of way.
Given that I was working, it didn’t seem appropriate to call the police at the time so I hobbled back into the carriage to the astonishment of my tourists with the doors closing right behind me. A rather nice lady chatted to me for 10 minutes and was kind enough to help me as I checked to see how badly my leg was bleeding. Surprisingly there were just slight abrasions though it hurt incredibly.
I then had a 5 hour walking tour to give and even by the time we got off the tube my leg was swollen and bruised. To be fair my tourists said to quit at any time but as they were a referral so I didn’t want to let them down or the original tourist from 3 years ago, Though understanding, I now I would be a bit unhappy if my only day in London was sabotaged by a random stranger trying to kill my guide.
My lovely tourists thoroughly enjoyed their tour and we all joked about how next time they would push me harder and how this photo would be the last where Stephen had both his legs. It hurt a lot all the way round though honestly, I’ve had worst and would recommend it over a chest infection any day of the week. It hurt more going up and down stairs and if they weren’t such nice people I would have probably sneaked off after a few hours.
By mutual consent though I think mostly by their possibly not 100% truthful assertion that they needed to end and find someplace to eat we finish 4.5 hours later. Maybe they thought if they didn’t stop then I never would. So then I hobbled over to St Barts Hospital, which we’d actually walked right by about 2.5 hours earlier!
I was seen very promptly by a nurse who got in a doctor to double check things. I went back into the waiting room to wait for the results and just at the moment, I got dizzy, hot, and began not to see anything at all. Apparently I was falling into shock which as exasperated by the pain though I actually thought it was possibly the end as several high profile incidents have been publicised in recent years where an apparently innocuous bump on the head has left to bleeding on the brain and an unavoidable death a few hours later. In fact I even sent 2 or 3 emergency goodbye texts before staggering back into the medical room and slumped onto a chair.
They took my blood pressure which was very low and I heard them saying I was in shock. I was in the hospital for over 2 hours being treated and observed and when I was feeling better I even gave one doctor a guided historical tour of his hospital from the treatment room.
I have a variety of relatively minor injuries, massive swellings, bruises and I felt a weak comparison to Brock Lesnar who carried on wrestling with a broken leg… there can’t be many guides who would carry on walking for 5 hours with a minor fracture, bruised bones and who knows what else.
My tourists texted me late that night and they had hugely enjoyed their tour and thought I should be knighted! As one of my most famous tour subjects once said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat“.
I have reported the incident to the police and as every train and platform has many security cameras hopefully the culprit will be apprehended.