“Mind the closing doors” is a phrase that commuters are sick to death of hearing. Its also a phrase that most people adhere to, save a few that we immediately roll our eyes and tut at. But that’s because they barge on for themselves, getting their arms or bags caught, just to save an extra few minutes waiting for the next tin can stuffed to the brim. But today, reader, I was that person. Or, rather, someone else was that person for me.
As I approached the platform, through the network of tunnels, I saw the tube waiting, with its doors open. I broke into a half-run, expecting to catch it, but alas, I heard the warning beeps of the closing doors, just as I reached the dreaded yellow line. But then, oh but then. A foot stuck itself out from where the doors slide out, and a kind stranger stopped the door, giving me time to board and promoting the message “please stand clear of the doors”.
Now, I wasn’t too bothered if I missed the train; the bakerloo line runs every couple of minutes so it made no real difference to me. But it was an act of kindness, from a man who owed me nothing, expected nothing in return, and that I would never see again. It’s prompted me to look again at my commute, at every aspect of my life, and think about how I could use small, random acts of kindness, just to keep the cycle of goodwill alive. Giving up my seat without hesitation (come on, you know we all think twice before offering it up); buying a round of coffee in the morning to help the day along for my teammates; smiling at strangers; all small acts that could really go a long way to improving someone’s day.
So, thank you, kind stranger, for keeping that door open for me. Please do mind the closing doors though. The delays can be a real inconvenience…