Letter: Geraldine Farrow, December 19, 2014

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Last Friday I took my elderly mother to the O2 to see Alfie Boe. After the concert we travelled back to our hotel in Docklands by tube. We then had to walk through an underpass to get to the hotel and walked behind a young woman who was clearly the worse for wear and commented on the state she was in.

As we left the underpass the poor girl slumped over some railings and dropped her phone in the road. I checked if she was alright, half expecting to be told to mind my own business.

It turned out she had only lived in London for two weeks and had been to her new work Christmas party. Her new colleagues had ‘initiated’ her by giving her shots to drink then seemingly let her walk out into the night, alone.

She had no idea where she was and couldn’t remember her full address. We took her into our hotel and after much confusion we finally managed to locate her flatmate’s number in her phone who I then called. She said she would come and fetch her but would take some time as she was six tube stops away. The poor girl had to go outside to be ill. By the look of her eyes I wouldn’t be surprised if her drink had been spiked.

The point I am trying to make in the season of goodwill is, initially we were amused by her reeling and weaving along, then commented on her foolishness to have got in such a state.

We live in a world where we treat people with a degree of suspicion and rarely intervene in others’ business. Of course personal safety is paramount, but had we not intervened, at the very least she would have remained lost and distressed in the freezing night and the worst case scenario doesn’t bear thinking about.

I’m not suggesting people should randomly approach strangers but at the very least we should reserve ‘judgement’ on a situation and not always take it at face value.

Even a phone call to the police giving the location could potentially save some one from tragedy.

Merry Christmas to you all, and Goodwill to all men!

Geraldine Farrow