Magazine article The Spectator

No Good Deed . .

Magazine article The Spectator

No Good Deed . .

Article excerpt

Never do a good turn for anyone.

What was I thinking, asking the lady if she'd like a lift up the Tube steps with her pram? I wasn't even going in the same direction as her, for goodness sake.

She was at the bottom of the steps looking up at the gargantuan climb ahead. I had just skipped happily down the steps on my way into town to have a nice, carefree night out.

The mistake I made, as I caught sight of her standing helpless and alone with her buggy, was to allow my instincts to take over before my brain could say, 'Whoa there, that's got to be heavy, leave it to a passing man to lift. Look, there are about 37 of them walking towards you right now . . . ' Too late.

My instincts made me leap at her shouting, 'Oh, no, you'll never get that up the stairs on your own, you poor thing, let me help you!'

As soon as the words were out of my mouth and I was standing in front of the pram I knew I had made a grievous error.

It was one of those monstrous affairs that overprotective parents seem to be fond of putting their offspring in nowadays, apparently in a bid to shield them from oncoming rhinoceroses. The damn thing was practically an armoured truck. It had huge tyres with incredibly elaborate treads, as if mummy was planning on nipping into Helmand province on her way back from M&S. It was big enough to put about five babies in by my reckoning. It had a huge hood covering a vast and luxurious sleeping, and indeed living, area and, worst of all, an enormous luggage rack underneath which was loaded up with coats, jumpers, lunch boxes, bags, children's games, food shopping, blankets, bottles of water, tins of rations, helmets, that sort of thing.

Whatever was inside the pram was covered in so many protective layers of swaddling and bullet-proof pram flaps it was impossible to tell what I was, in fact, helping to lift. I could just be carrying this woman's shopping, I thought bitterly. Or a dog.

Taking a deep breath, and reciting ''Tis a far greater thing I do now, etc.', I grabbed the reinforced rubber footrest and attempted to lift. The noise 'hurrrrrrrrrrrrghhhh!'

escaped my mouth before I could do anything about it. …

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