Having been away a few days, I travelled back from Liverpool late last night on the train. Now Saturday evening is always an interesting experience on public transport but this one showed me a really good example of how stereotypes can be wrong in our society.
The first train from Liverpool from Birmingham was absolutely packed. In my carriage were a group of middle aged people in their late 40s and early 50s who were clearly drunk. This meant lots of swearing and explicit sexual talk despite being in the immediate and obvious vicinity of young children. One woman in particular kept shouting out “Ellen” very loudly to such a level that was deafening to everyone else in the carriage. The “Ellen” in question was her pal who spent much of the journey in the carriage toilet part of which was accompanied by some bloke. Thankfully, she and her group got off at Wilmslow after 45 mins of being extremely irritating and offensive to all probably without realising.
The second train from Birmingham to Reading was also absolutely packed and running around an hour late. In my carriage standing next to me were a teenage boy and girl who I would estimate to be around 18 and were students. In contrast to the previous “adults”, they were delightful offering unprompted practical help to an elderly couple with their bags and reassuring a foreign lady who was concerned she was on the wrong train. Despite standing themselves for over an hour, they then offered me a seat that came available rather than taking it themselves. They got off at Banbury before I had a chance to privately recognise their efforts and the positive impact to others that they quietly made probably without realising.
It made me reflect that often it is students and young people that wrongly get blamed for problems in society when in fact it is behaviour rather than age or occupation that is the problem…