Q. What is the sweetest revenge you’ve ever taken?
answered by Andy Haig, former Telecoms and Technology 30+ Years.
A small thing, but very satisfying.
British trains can be very crowded at peak time. It Is wise to book a seat. I travel into and out of London regularly for work, at least once a week. So I book a seat on the intended return train, otherwise I risk standing.
One evening, I had been out with my team and had several pints under my belt before travelling – I got on my train and noted that there was a middle-aged gent in my seat; this is not unusual and not usually a problem. I didn’t think much of it and being rather . . . mellow – I sat myself in another reserved seat a few rows away.
As the train got progressively more crowded, a lady approached me with her ticket; I was in her seat – no problem. I stood up and went to walk away – still feeling mellow, I didn’t feel like disturbing the chap in my seat and began to move down the train – intending to find a seat in a different carriage. As I walked away, a whiney voice pursued me down the aisle – “Some people ought to learn the meaning of the word ‘reserved’ !” – clearly aimed at me.
Several pints in, I can turn from mellow to snappy quite quickly. I acknowledge this as a flaw. I turned around, ready to engage in a spirited dialogue with whomever the person was who felt the need to have a poke. The blood was up. It was then that I noticed that the voice belonged to the gent occupying what I had previously identified as my reserved seat. . .
I spend a few seconds checking my facts – I was in the right carriage, that was my seat, I had the reservation slips and the date was right. Karma and right were on my side. Strategy change, Game on.
I wandered down the aisle towards the oblivious provocateur, noting as I approached that he was possessed of a few extra pounds, and appeared to be seated next to his similarly traditionally-built wife. I pulled up next to the gent and their heads gimballed towards me in unison.
“You know I do agree with you in respect of seat etiquette” I opened. Before he could reply I pulled my tickets from my pocket and continued “It’s interesting that you felt the need to stick your oar in – because I was walking away to find another seat. I was going to let it lie”. His eyes narrowed as I waved my tickets at him. “You see I do have a seat reservation for this carriage and specifically, it is the seat you are currently sitting in. I’d like my seat please”. The eyes widened in panicky disbelief. After frantically checking my tickets to verify the claim, the gent vacated the seat and headed off, flushed an attractive shade of puce.
I plonked myself down next to his wife, who was also an unusually livid colour and also glaring at me in disbelief/rage. I grinned, settled in and celebrated by dropping the armrest between us, forcing her to vacate that portion of my seat she was occupying
Popping the tab on one of the pair of tins I bought to sustain me on my journey.
“Well you needn’t think I am sitting next to you for the next two hours! ” she hurled at me before storming off – A bit of a Pyrrhic victory really since :-
Her eventual replacement on the hotly contested seat was a friend of mine.
When I ventured to the loo after an hour or so, I found them both stood silently in the space between carriages. I greeted them both cheerfully, but they were not really very forthcoming.