Feb 5, 2010


Coming home on the 'Rotterdam-Hague' above ground subway late last night and almost at my station, I was accosted by a well dressed, elderly and seemingly confused gentleman.

"Aha!" Says he, addressing myself and a young woman sitting just behind me.
"Aha, two angels sent to comfort me!"

As I glanced at the young woman - who looked alarmed - and stood up in preparation to leave the train, the elderly gentleman spread his arms wide, blocking my exit from the seat.

"Well," I replied calmly, brushing him firmly aside, "this 'angel' is a bit old."

"No matter!" Answered he, following me eagerly to the door.

The train swayed and I grabbed a pole, while the elderly gentleman attempted to grab my hand on the pole.

"Listen to me," I said, in my best (Dutch) matter-of-fact, calming voice, whilst gazing unblinkingly and firmly into his rheumy old eyes. " Sit yourself down and wait quietly, until you reach your Stop. All right?"

"Oh what a pity," said he, moving off quickly down the carriage to accost another female. He had obviously decided there was no chance with one of his own generation, because his next victim was a pretty teenager, who let out a yelp, at whatever it was he said to her - and shouted at him to "Sodermieter op!!!" (Dutch for F... off!).

By now we had reached my station and as I stepped onto the platform the elderly gentleman was hurrying back up the carriage towards me (!). Too late! I was outside - and a young man stepping off at a door further up, waited for me to walk up beside him, before asking me if 'that old bloke' had been bothering me (?) and that he was just becoming aware of the situation and feeling that he should 'do something' about it, when 'the old perv' had moved away to pester somebody else! I replied that I had felt that the elderly gentleman was more confused, than dangerous - but still you never can tell - and I thanked him for his concern.

As we began descending the steps to street level the train was slowly leaving the station and we caught a glimpse of 'the old perv' peering forlornly after me through the glass door (!)
The young man solicitously slowed his pace to match mine, accompanying me safely down the unlit steps to the pavement, before calling a cheery goodnight and dashing off to catch an approaching tram - and as I continued my journey, I couldn't help but feel a warm glow of appreciation - and an inward chuckle. Chivalry towards elderly ladies with silver hair and stiff old knees (takes me a while to get down steps sometimes) is not dead it seems!

Bless that young man - and bless the old one too. For alas, I fear he may well be the most vulnerable of us all.

I always carry my keys in my hand whilst walking down unbusy streets at night. Something I was told as a child: If someone grabs you around the neck from behind, jab the key up over your shoulder into the assailants eye (!) Yuk. Luckily haven't had to try it yet...


Kate said...

Geri - you pulled!!!! Okay, so not quite what you wanted but hey - its good to know others recognise your charm!!!!

Seriously though - the young man was obviously looking out for you - its the young ones you have to watch over here!!!

Geri Atric said...

Hi Kate ~ Oh-er, yes I did pull didn't I..?! Hadn't quite looked at it that way.
As for the young man, I suspect I reminded him of his (dear) old grandma...!

Kate said...

Really .?.... you don't strike me as the dear old grandma type....have I read you wrong?

Grannymar said...

You handled it well Geri! Make noise and make people aware of the situation is always my tactic. That was a kind young man to stay until a place where you were safe.

Stay well.

Geri Atric said...

Kate ~ Well perhaps not completely wrong... I am a grandma and I am old but perhaps more 'crusty' than 'dear'. Heh-heh!

Grannymar ~ Thank you! When you lack the brawn, a lot of noise is definately the next best thing.

I am grateful to that young man.

jay said...

Oh, poor old guy! I think you handled it beautifully .. with the help of your own 'angel sent to comfort you' of course. ;)

Geri Atric said...

Good morning Jay ~ and thank you! Guardian angels in all shapes and sizes?! Makes me wonder how many times we escape risky situations without ever realizing it...*shiver*!

steph said...

Oh, Geri

That story gave me the shivers. Glad to hear it had a nice ending.

I guess the morale of the story is to avoid travelling alone late at night if at all possible.

And long live chivalry!

Geri Atric said...

Good morning Steph ~ Yes I agree with you there. Travelling alone at night is not my favourite thing, especially on this particular subway route. But needs must - and I always search out a well occupied carriage (and sit as near to a red emergency handle as possible!)