This week a man was boarding the train at Stirling Street station in Perth like he had probably done hundreds of times before. The station was busy, people were going about their daily business when suddenly this man got distracted or perhaps he misjudged his footing or maybe he simply didn’t heed the warning to “mind the gap,” because he slipped and his leg became wedged in the space between the stationary train and the platform. What happened next was pretty fantastic! People were gathering around, the guard was blowing his whistle and all of a sudden a whole heap of passengers were leaning on the train and they just managed to tilt it away from the tracks far enough that the man could free his leg and go about his day unscathed. Now I understand that this was a great show of people power. I realise that it demonstrated the strength of unity and the weight of numbers, highlighting what can be achieved when people work together. It was the ant effect; alone they’re not much good but as a group they can move mountains. And it went viral. I had friends in Hawaii, the UK and Canada all tell me they had seen it on the news. The world lapped it up.
Now I love Perth, I am very passionate about our little corner of the globe and I am really happy to see our town on the map for something other than shark culls. But, I have to admit, for me, with this story there is also some sadness.
I think the world is in a terrible place at the moment. We are living in a time where children are being bombed and killed, a time when planes are disappearing and being shot out of the sky, a time where people are being murdered and maimed simply because of who they are and what they believe in. And it seems to be happening the world over. We are living in a time where America values the right to own guns over the safety of its citizens. A time where Russians are killing homosexuals simply because they are homosexual. A time where women and children are being gang raped in India and left to die in the most humiliating of ways. A time when Japanese fishermen are turning our oceans red with the spilt blood of our most majestic creatures. A time when Africa’s elephants and rhinos are looking at a very real case of becoming extinct simply because of human greed and capitalism. A time when a group of men feel they have the right to just steal 200 schoolgirls. The audacity to steal girls, as if they were just lollies in a local deli. We are living in a time when a paedophile is no longer that one rare creepy man who hangs out down at the corner shop but there are large groups of these people, sometimes in the thousands, who are gathering and networking in cyberspace. The innocent and the worlds most vulnerable are being exploited and it feels like there is something very much out of balance at the moment. My heart is sad. The air feels heavy.
Maybe the internet is the one to blame here. Information is shared more now and maybe things are magnified and bad news is spread like herpes at a swingers club. Maybe life was a lot sweeter when we were more ignorant and more innocent. Maybe we were better off before we knew all the evil happenings around the world. Perhaps we were better off in the days when we didn’t carry the national library and every media outlet in our back pockets or handbags. I know I wouldn’t be awake at 4am typing this if we lived in a time where we knew less. But we don’t live in a world like that. We live in a world where we do know what is going on with our brothers and sisters across the seas. And I think that’s a good thing. Awareness is always a good thing right?
So, I understand why the world would grab onto a piece of news like the Perth train story with two hands. Lapping it up and nodding their heads in a general state of relief that finally there is a feel good news story. A story of group work and solidarity, some proof that people are not all bad. Evidence that we can help each other and like the ants, when we work as a team, we have the ability to move mountains.
But at the end of the day, it was just a couple of minutes of some people leaning on a train. I would have joined in had I been there. I think we all would.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that I wish this didn’t need to make international news. I wish stories like this weren’t such a big deal. I wish that more acts of kindness and compassion were happening around the world, so much so that the story about some guy from Perth who slipped one day and got his leg stuck didn’t need to go viral. That the human race can work together more for the greater good rather than trying to hurt, humiliate and kill one another.
I know it’s not all bad ‘out there.’ I know there are plenty of people doing amazing things helping and assisting one another without any thanks or acknowledgement. I don’t mean to be negative. It just feels sometimes like the world has lost its way a bit. That compassion and kindness in some parts of our planet have packed up and gone for a holiday. I hope they come back really soon. I know what you’re thinking, that I’m being very idealistic. That the world’s problems are multi-layered and complex and we need a lot more than a group hug to sort them out and I get that. I agree with you. I don’t have the answer.
So back to the guy and the train. Wouldn’t it be nice if things like this were just an everyday occurrence in all countries around the world? If people could realise that we have one planet and we each have one life and that it is short and it is precious……. Until we do learn that I hope we keep pushing trains off legs of guys who fall through the cracks and I hope we remember that if we work together we can move mountains. I really think we could learn a lot from the ants.
If you missed it you can watch the footage of the train rescue here…
What are your thoughts on the train rescue and the state of the world at the moment?
Or am I just being a bit dramatic?