Reporter Dale Haslam continues his regular blog on his daily train commute in and out of Bolton.
IN all the years I have been using trains, I have seen acts of kindness from many people.
Whether it is helping visually impaired people navigate crowded carriages or someone lifting a baby buggy.
And then there are even bigger gestures, like when I saw a man sprint off a train to return a pensioner’s misplaced purse.
But my favourite story of altruism on the railway is that of the Good Conductor. In 1982, a student living in London calls his poorly mother in Leeds and is told she will not live through the night.
Desperate to see her one last time, he sets off late in the evening.
The timetable shows his train would reach Peterborough 20 minutes late for the last train to Leeds.
Distressed, the student is aggressive towards the kind and patient train conductor.
The student tells the conductor his situation and the conductor leaves him alone.
A few minutes later, the conductor returns, and says: “When we get to Peterborough, shoot straight over to platform one. The Leeds train will be there. They are going to hold the train up for you. As soon as you get on, it goes.
“Everyone will be complaining about how late it is, but let’s not worry about that.”
When the student asks how he could repay the conductor, he says: “The next time you see someone in trouble, help them out. That will pay me back.”
He got home and saw his dying mother one last time.
That student was Leeds writer and former social worker Bernard Hare, who tells the story today to inspire young people.
Mr Hare said: “I’ve paid him back a thousand times since then and I’ll keep on doing so until the day I die.”