Let me begin by saying I have always viewed public transport in London very positively. Be it the 94 night bus out of Picadilly Circus at 4 am, or trying to take an interchange anywhere near Chelsea on a match day (oy the sea of blue and white!), people can be slightly assholish, but on the whole, perfectly safe. However, today I witnessed up close and personal my very first fist fight on the bus.
I knew there was going to be trouble when we pulled up to the Westfield Mall stop. It’s half term, so the place was crawling with kids/mums/teens as well as the regular commuters off the Underground and Overground rail lines. All the smart people who had walked to the side of the mall to get on the first stop could see it too. See, like everything else in London, space is limited on the busses, no more than in the buggy corral area. That is some prime real estate. So, when I could very clearly see 3 mummies and buggies waiting, I knew there would be issues. Luckily, one mum had an foldable getup, so it *should* have been smooth sailing. I mean, this was the 237. It goes through Chiswick, for goodness’ sake. Everyone should have been cool. It should have been fine.
Lady is sitting with young son, about 8/9 or so, and 3/4 year old in buggy. English is not her first language. Mum comes on with 2 kids, about 12 or so, and infant in pram. Chavish was her first language. Chavy tells Lady she can’t fit her buggy in the farthest spot, Lady misunderstands, moves her kid into aisle. Chavy moves into her spot. Lady is now pissed, and starts moving her stuff (because when you have a ginormous buggy you have to hang every bag you own off of it – everyone in London does this, annoys the hell out of me). Lady bumps pram. Chavy yells that if she bumps the pram again there will be trouble. Lady bumps pram –
Chavy cold cocks lady. Bus gasps, but it’s so packed no one can really think to do anything, or have room to do it. Lady swings back, random guy gets close enough to hold back Chavy. Tension filled pause, and then
LADY INTENTIONALLY KICKS CHAVY’S PRAM.
Now, this thing is built like a Sherman tank, so the kid is okay, but it’s the principle of the thing. You don’t intentionally hit a kid, or whatever a kid is in. Again the fists fly, again the bus gasps, again the guy steps in. Lady is spitting blood, Chavy lady realizes entire bus is fumbling for cell to video this encounter, and gets off at the next stop. When I am about to get off, I approach lady, ask if she and the kids are okay. Lady did hit Chav’s pram, but Chavy started it, so I call it a wash, and want to make sure more than anything that the little ones are alright.
This is why I babywear.