Yesterday, moved by mildly worrying reports of smoke billowing out of trains, we used the @Londonist Twitter feed to ask our readers what the weirdest and most unnerving things they’d ever spotted on London transport were.
Perhaps our favourite of the responses was that from @ChloeHamilton, who’d seen a man dressed as some sort of rodent on the Piccadilly Line, and had the photographs to provide it. (Look. At that. Seriously. What is going on there?) But during the course of an hour we also uncovered tales of bad behaviour, from passengers…
- @canalcook Girl at rush-hour once clawed my hand with fake nails to get me to let go of handrail, then took my spot. Only person holding it
- @lesleyj28 Once got central line tube home-driver said he was passing round paper for us to vote whether to go to Ealing B or W Ruislip!
- @solamiga A bus driver near London Bridge nipping off to get himself fish&chips. Asked on PA if we wanted anything. We waited then drove on
A few stories were frightening:
- @RadioKate Someone threatened to kill me when I suggested not all people agreed with the racist crap he was spouting. That was, er, scary.
- @djmgaffneyw4 All the occupants of Northern line carriage at evening rush hour ignoring man having epileptic seizure thrashing on the floor.
…but rather more were embarrassing.
- @biondino You know your mum tells you to not lean against the doors on a tube train? Yeah, they open, as it turns out
- @dotloadmovie very elegant lady strutted down the platform at Earls Court like it was a catwalk. And then sat down where there wasn’t a bench
- @SandyQ8 watched woman push her 4 kids onto train ahead of her, while she was chatting on cellphone the doors closed. She wasn’t on yet.
I mean, really embarrassing.
- @EddieEbola Woke up drunk at Finsbury Pk. Put my arm round my wife, realised it wasn’t her, she hit me & I had to sit there til Wood Green.
A lot of them, you’ll be surprised to learn, involved booze.
- @cicliced Train. No toilet. Drunk guy. Packed train. Urine running from bottom of his trousers. Casually cracked open another beer. Gross.
- @makingthemarrow On tube, drunk girl looks around carriage, slowly opens bag, throws up violently in bag, then casually closes bag. Everyone saw.
- @Jamie_Merrill Smashed three bottles of red wine in the middle of packed tube. Luckily had plastic cup to scoop (and drink) remains. It was 9am
- @mikejjennings Two drunk blokes pressed the emergency signal on a train, hopped out, and went running away down the tracks. Cheers lads.
- @DaveMcgrath1 I once pedalled a Rickshaw over Waterloo bridge with a couple in the backseat doing the no-pants dance.
- @___alison Friend was transfixed by a stunning woman leaving the train. He was so enamoured his head got stuck in the closing train doors
- @levi_spitz Once lent a lighter on the 134 without thinking about it and the guy used it to fire up his crack pipe + explain how sex works
- @tara_craig Got a bus driver to stop on Shaftesbury Ave because worried fellow passenger was dead. Just unconscious and full of meths!
- @Taikonaut On a standing room only night bus. “CAN ANYONE SELL ME DRUGS? ” “I CAN. GOOD PRICES. COME UPSTAIRS” “AWESOME, THANKS”
…or rock and roll:
- @Sarah_skis impromptu rave one Friday: 2 guys with speakers got on tube & the whole carriage was dancing. that was a bit surprising
- @sharonodea in response to girl playing tinny garage music over phone speaker, woman started opera singing on a packed Central Line.
Some of them involved food.
- @DuncanVB There’s a man who gets the Northern Line who chews whole garlic cloves and shows the chewed up mess to people. And shadowboxes.
- @robward07 I saw a guy eating a full fry up, on a plate, on a packed bus, during rush hour, at 8.30am.
- @funkdup_k I also saw a woman chopping onions. She had a proper chopping board and knife. On the tube. At 10am.
A vexingly high proportion involved yoghurt.
- @NoToPaperTigers can’t put it down in full but involved- A flasher, a yoghurt, a tennis racket +now long term fear of yoghurt. True story. #shudder
- @SelectedTweets Woman eating a large pot of yoghurt. With her fingers.
- @LauraJeanGrey I second this I saw a man literally smearing his face with a pot of yoghurt on the northern line.
Then, inevitably, there were those that were just really, really weird.
- @QPCaroline Once saw a man on tube cleaning his teeth with a stick [Edit to add: reader Finlay Dobbie has since been in contact to point out this is a traditional Islamic alternative to the toothbrush]
- @AlixKroeger two well-dressed young men on the overground thoughtfully debating the best way of stealing metal from overhead cables.
- @CecilExplorer people dressed as Tetris blocks. Had to check with my friend that I wasn’t hallucinating
- @LittleRach84 Also saw this man dreadlocking his dog on the Northern Line. pic.twitter.com/OqFlBA3AiC
- @DavidRose24 There was the bloke taking a piss between carriages on the tube as it was going between stations.
- @Sjgray86 A man shouting ‘is anyone French? I want to kill all the French!’ as he boarded a night bus
But let’s end on a happy note. Here are some of the more heart-warming tales we were told.
- @FatGayVegan my number 10 bus driver & half the downstairs deck jumped off to break up a post-Carnival street brawl the other day.
- @allyablaze on a busy tube an eloquent young man began to recite Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. It was mesmerising, everyone shut up to listen.
- @krisjones1 A friend unfamiliar with the tube was upset when the train terminated at Putney Bridge. He offered driver £5 to go to Wimbledon.
- @OC_Bram A train driver singing Christmas carols from Ealing Broadway till Oxford Circus on the central line
- @TheBuddhaSmiled I managed to get an entire Tube carriage to sing Christmas Carols with me on the way to Heathrow on Xmas eve.
- @ohbex Positive story: dropped wallet as I got off tube. A man saw, lunged for it and flung it to me just as the doors closed. Hero
- @dammydodger Central Line, train pulls out of the station then violently stops, the driver tells us “I do apologise, it was made in Britain”.
Oh, London, we love you.