I am a revolutionary. I am a jactivist*. I am the TFL Lone Ranger. I carry out my acts in broad daylight on the London underground.
A few months ago I floated out of a Jivamukti Yoga class with Cristian. There’s something about his class that always leaves me in state of utter relaxation. Even though I’m at war with my tight hips.
As I left Seven Sisters tube, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a man and heard him say “have you got 60p…” He was asking everyone who walked passed. And we all walked passed. However, something made me stop and turn around – probably the odd amount he was asking for. I saw that he was holding out an Oystercard so I took it and topped it up with £5.
The poor man only had 70p and was looking for just enough for a single journey. The look of gratitude on his face almost broke my heart. I wondered about his story. I wish him well. After all, we are all only a few steps of misfortune away from similar circumstances.
A few weeks later I was on the Victoria Line, around Victoria. I was aware of a woman on the tube – although I wasn’t looking her way I sensed that she was staring at me. When I looked up I saw she was crying, silently. I rifled through my bag and pulled out a pack of tissues. I tapped her gently on her knee, handed her the tissues and asked if she was ok. She smiled and said yes. It was one of those brave smiles that you give to try to convince yourself everything is ok when your world has actually fallen apart. She continued to cry. I left her in peace but wonder if I should have hugged her?
On the tube a few weeks after that, at Highbury and Islington, I saw a mother with her son. He was a delight. Her paper bag was disintegrating but he said: “It’s ok, Mummy, I’ll carry it!” I rifled through my bag and pulled out a plastic bag which I handed to his mother. She was absolutely thrilled – as if I’d handed her a bag of gold (literally and figuratively!).
It’s so easy to get caught up in the London way but I’m not having any of it. I follow the Lynda Way. I smile at strangers, I even talk to them. You just never know when a little act of kindness might make somebody’s day.
*journey + activist = jactivist