The crowded, London-bound train had more or less emptied at West Ham Station, confirming my suspicions that most of the afternoon passengers were headed for the Olympic Games in nearby Stratford.
A few minutes later the train pulled in at London Fenchurch Street – its final destination. The remaining passengers began to gather their possessions and shuffle along the aisles towards the nearest set of automatic doors. A little girl snuck in front of me and began engaging a young blonde woman, who had remained seated, in conversation.
Girl (pointing to a sticker on the wall above the woman’s head): "What does that sign say?"
Woman: “It says 'Priority Seating.'"
Girl: "What does Priority Seating mean?"
Woman: "It means that if the train is full and there's an old person, or a pregnant woman, who needs to sit down, then you have to give up your seat for them."
Girl: "My mum’s old."
This last comment drew an indignant protest from the girl’s mother, who was part-way through an attempt to uncollapse a pushchair. The rest of us, waiting to get off the train, did our best to politely stifle our amusement.
(London Fenchurch Street Station – 3rd August, 2012 – around 2pm)