No More Royal Babies: Another Kind of Pushing

As the world descends into blubbering, incoherent madness over the Duchess of Cambridge squeezing out a small, short-sighted, potato-like creature who will, one day, maybe become King, we’ve decided to focus on another sort of pushing altogether.

If you’ve ever been to London, Tokyo, New York, or any of the other big, frenetic, commuting cities, then you’ll be no stranger to the sort of “head-down”, “speak-to-no-one” attitude that governs all train/tube/bus journeys.

Travellers queue as the doors close on a packed rush hour tube train in central London

Occasionally, though, something either wonderful or horrifying happens on one of these journeys and has enough impact to force a break in the stony silence.

The best of these usually comes in the form of some beleaguered train driver deciding that, for the next five minutes, he’s going to live out his stand-up comedy dreams and starts pumping out all his best ROFL one-liners over the tannoy. Although, usually, this is only powerful enough to evoke a collective snigger from his audience.

The most dramatic displays of mutual abandonment of the “look-no-one-in-the-eye” ethos usually occur in the face of an emergency. When someone faints in an overheated underground carriage, suddenly there is no shortage of people offering water, holding legs in the air, putting legs back down again, giving medical advice, unbuttoning shirts, slapping faces and generally trying to speak with feigned authority.

Skip to Japan. At Minami-Urawa station, just North of Tokyo, on Monday morning, a woman in her 30s slipped between the platform and the train.

A quick to react station hand made an announcement asking everyone to help push the train, tilting it on its suspension system, to allow the woman to be freed.


Amazingly, she was pulled out without any injuries and the train left the station with only an eight minute delay.

And then, after a brief cheer and a couple of high-fives, everyone went back to staring at the floor and pretending they were the only ones on the platform…

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