A word in your ear - September 19, 2013

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THERE were domestic concerns on my mind (washing machine needing repair, laptop playing up), so I probably looked glum.

The young chap ahead of me at the barber’s gave an encouraging smile as he stood and made for the swing chair.

I had barely nodded in return but soon felt touched that he had bothered acknowledging me.

He related to the friendly hairdresser how he had been at Victoria Hospital for the past few days and nights – visiting his ill wife.

Now he needed freshening up before seeing their children at present staying with grandparents.

It was a reminder others may be suffering far more than ourselves. The least we can do is give them a considerate smile – then help when possible.

Across at the corner pub later, one of the regulars – an off-duty train driver – was recounting how many Japanese travel on tour trips from London to the Lakes.

“They love everything to do with Beatrix Potter,” he explained.

I’d seen the evidence myself, with bemused locals around Hawkshead gaping at Japanese in Edwardian dress visiting the author’s former farm nearby.

“They like their photographs taken by Oxenholme railway station sign,” said train driver Mick (or TDM, as he’s known in the pub).

“So I oblige,” added the burly six-footer with spiky hair and grinned. “They usually ask me to pose with them too!”

It has to be said Mick looks a bit of a bruiser but, in fact, is a font of knowledge, has a mischievous sense of humour and, it seems, a heart of gold.

He had also guided tourists to their hotel, even personally escorting one anxious troupe.

“I always do help out people on stations, if they look lost,” he told me.

“It’s the least I can do – and the simplest way to help our fellow man.”

It was the second time that day I’d felt humbled, but also inspired, by my fellow men.

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