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Editors Letter: Are you offering me your seat?

It has happened to me once before but I'm not going to let it dent my inner belief that nothing has changed over the years and I'm still someone who helps others, not the other way around. My self-image is obviously not the image others see, however. Otherwise, why would the chap, only a few years my junior, on the ridiculously overcrowded train, offer me his seat.

When it happened before, on a shuttle bus at the Grand Canyon, I politely refused the offer from a lady, a few years my senior, and maintained a macho front even though my knees were telling me to swallow my pride. 

This time with the prospect of standing for a couple of hours, I accepted gratefully but persuaded myself the offer was really directed at my daughter who was with me. 

The train trip was on a Sunday evening with a disrupted service due to engineering works. Local and mainline trains were being dispatched from the same platforms at London St Pancras station.

The result was crowds of passengers not really being guided as to where to queue and then being released, like the start of a road race, to hare down the platform.

My haring days are long gone, so we ended up as members of the standing line that stretched through the whole train. It was dangerously overcrowded and the train manager desperately tried to order people off. Good luck with that one. 

He threatened to cancel the service. No one believed him and sure enough the train swayed northwards on time with everyone disgruntled. 

Not us. Well, the Arsenal had just beaten Manchester United.