Spirit of London

By now the whole world has heard of the incident at Parson’s Green tube station on Friday where murder and mayhem were on a coward’s agenda. While they managed to injure, 22 that we know of sought treatment but all have since been discharged, no one was seriously physically hurt..

In the panic to exit the station there was a crush which must have been incredibly frightening. I can’t imagine being on my way to work and then in an instant having to run for my life. Rumours (thankfully unfounded) sprung up in the chaos of a second device and someone apparently armed with a knife also adding to the awfulness.

Emergency services started arriving within three minutes, amazing, and were on the site securing the situation all day. I am also amazed that there were no fatalities and my thoughts have been with those injured and many more dealing with the shock and trauma.

I was grateful to account for my friends who may have been in the area that morning but I kept an eye on the BBC’s live news feed just to make sure the situation remained contained. I must admit though, sadly, in these modern times, an incident like this is not surprising nor does it really shock me anymore. Since this occurred on the opposite side of town to where I frequent it didn’t shake me in the same way as the acid attacks of a few months ago (mentioned in We Got the Love) which were in more familiar territory.

Thoughts along these lines started to sink in my mind, like a depressive weather system slowly gathering pace and drawing all the energy out of its local atmosphere. I nearly closed the BBC window on my computer thinking I should just carry on with my day and not give the situation any more energy. What I saw then was what actually lifted the clouds.

Sprinkled in among the scary facts about homemade bombs and previous failed attempts to injure commuters, were acts of kindness. Residents in the area were offering cups of tea to help calm shocked travelers who had escaped the station and doors were opened to the press for charging points and comfort breaks. A local Italian restaurant owner even turned up in the afternoon with pizza for all the police, paramedic and fire staff still on the site.

It warms my heart immensely that in such a huge city, with millions of people all crammed together, its easy to feel inconsequential and annoyed about small things. It’s easy to forget that we are all still thinking, dreaming and loving humans. One person tried to interrupt how we choose to live and our freedom to do so by attempting to kill innocent people. This is one person’s threat was defeated by so many more swooping in to help, and by the millions just continuing with their daily lives as before.

I feel so incredibly lucky that I wasn’t there and that my friends are safe, I am so proud of the city’s swift, effective and thorough response and privileged to live among some genuinely lovely humans who volunteered to help through kindness. This feels like a wonderful antidote to the cynicism that seems inherent in recent times.  Thanks to all who have stepped in whether by duty or by chance, and thank you to London for being the crazy, hectic, intense, fun and joyful city I get to call home.