Minding the gap
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
I’m not long back from holiday, a short part of which was spent aboard Eurostar.
The scenery around Ebbsfleet and the north coast of France isn’t great so I whiled away some of the time in watching the information screen on which an animated sequence gave advice on how to alight from the train to the platform.
First it showed a bearded young man sproing down the step, swinging his backpack in one hand. Then we saw a rather portly middle-aged chap, with one foot on the step and one foot on the platform, demonstrate how to unload a heavy case. Then there was the figure of an adult man swinging a toddler down with the same arrangement of feet. And then came the little old lady.
Now the animator had done a good job with the little old lady; she was bespectacled with grey hair swept back in a bun and moved bent over a walking stick. The poor old dear received no assistance, being left to plant her stick on the platform before launching herself after it. Each time the sequence came round I held my breath to see if she would make it this time, or go plummeting to an uncertain fate between the train and the platform. Of course she did make it but then, she’d had lots of practice.
I was pleased to observe that the reality was very different and I saw many instances of helpful hands being offered by passengers to older people with limited mobility. But I did wonder if there was a Freudian truth in the animated sequence on screen – children must always receive assistance while elderly people can be left to shift for themselves.
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