There is a little railway station just north of somewhere and to the east of that other place. And one time in your life, you’ll either have stood waiting on a train there or will have passed through it, I promise you.
The station wasn’t anything special, it just helped people get into
the city and received their tired bodies at the end of the day.
It had been built in the 1850’s and judging by the architecture, it was a statement to a country with an empire. But things change, and empires fall, and now the station just had a ticket office and a toilet.
It wasn’t small enough that people talked to each other, nor was it big enough to get lost in – it was a station of an awkward size, where people saw the same folks everyday but were standing too far away to communicate.
And life went on and it is want to do.
Then one cold November, just after that thing that happened, but just before that other thing was about to occur, Jonathon Neasby came to the station as the Station Manager.
Okay, all he did was sell tickets and clean the toilet but that wasn’t going to stop Jonathon – who had once dreamt he was going to be an astronaut or failing that, regenerate into Doctor Who.
At first, Jonathon (who had never been actually told to his face, that life was hard) started singing as he sold the tickets. There were those (as there are always ‘those’) who found the humming and singing a distraction, but for most, it was a little break from the hum-drum of travelling to work.
Then Jonathon started to sing as he announced what trains were going where and the ones which weren’t coming. A few faces would crack a smile while standing on the platform and possibly, one or two would forget about their troubles for a few minutes.
It wasn’t long before Jonathon was telling little stories for the folks who stood, waiting. About how he had got the job, how he had never been picked for sports’ teams at school and how, despite everything, he felt that a Station Manager was a brilliant job and he wanted to thank everyone who had helped him.
One or two of those waiting broke into applause, and like an Oscar speech, Jonathon decided to thank everyone in his life.
One morning, a note was left at the ticket office which just said ‘thank you’ and Jonathon felt that that was the best note he had ever been given in his life.
In between the songs, the selling of the tickets, the cleaning of the toilet, and the little speeches, Jonathon started to write his own little stories.
One snowy day when everyone was generally feeling miserable he made this announcement:
“Good day my fellow travellers, I want you to think about your problems. I guess most of you are standing there thinking of them anyway. Now, in your head, give your problems away to someone in the station and you take their problems. Swap yours for theirs. And I know you’ve probably heard it before but I, reckon that if you could really see all their problems, you’d be screaming for your own back.”
Then Jonathon broke into his version of Bohemian Rhapsody (doing all the voices). The station became so popular that people started to change stations and leave from Jonathon’s because it made their day.
It got so crowded that sometimes there wasn’t room to move.
The big chiefs on the Railway Board decided to investigate and discovered that Jonathon’s spirit and outlook was just what they needed at one of the big city stations.
Soon he started to run the Jonathon Neasby School for Railway Enhancement and Entertainment.
Jonathon realised that all people really wanted was someone to tell them that they were okay.
Jonathon is the Prime Minister now and of course broadcasts a song to the entire country every morning.
Today the song was the Beatles’ ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and folks in every city, town and hamlet were heard to sing along with him.
bobby stevenson 2014