Strangers on a train, until she gave me her pink jumper | Adrian Chiles

Humans can be a wonderful species, as I was reminded on a journey to Plymouth last week

As simple unexpected acts of kindness go, this one will take some beating. I was on a train from London to Plymouth last Friday afternoon, on my way to a reunion of some university friends, among them people I’d not clapped eyes on for more than 30 years. Oddly, I found myself getting nervous about it, feeling almost as frightened as a fresher at the prospect of making friends again with old friends. And when I get nervous, I get tired. I have this much in common with the footballing great, Gordon Strachan, who tells me that when he was nervous before games, he couldn’t stop himself from yawning uncontrollably. This greatly annoyed his managers, not least Sir Alex Ferguson.

I tried to lean my head on the window but the gap between the seat and the window was too big, making it most uncomfortable. After a bit of wriggling, I felt something soft being pushed into the gap. It was a rolled-up pink woolly jumper from the woman behind, for me to use as a pillow. Being prone to a bit of a slobber while snoozing, I tried to refuse but she insisted. I slept very soundly, thinking what a wonderful species humankind can be.

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Source : Strangers on a train, until she gave me her pink jumper | Adrian Chiles