Tiger plays bodyguard

Today was obviously my day for odd encounters as I had another one later this afternoon.

I went to pick up Tigger from work as usual and made myself as comfortable as possible on the hard plastic seat in the bus shelter near her place of work. I pulled out my by now slightly dog-eared copy of The God Delusion and settled down to read. I was alone in the bus shelter, sitting right at the end of the bench, as I always do.

I was a little surprised when a young black teenager, dressed in school uniform, came and sat right next to me. I took no notice and went on reading.

“Excuse me,” he said quietly. I looked up. “There’s some boys after me. If they come will you back me up?” The request was unexpected but the tone was anxious and what could I do but I assent?

I took off my specs and put them and my book away. Not that I was expecting violence but, well, you know, just in case…

“Just as well I’m wearing my big hat today,” I thought1.

I tried asking a few questions about the situation that he, and now I, were involved in but the young chap was very uncommunicative. I did gather that he was due to pick up his brother and would do so as soon as the danger was over.

At this point, two other black youths appeared on the scene. One was wearing vestiges of school uniform different from my protegé and both were perhaps a couple of years older than he.

“Are these the boys?” I hissed in classic spy mode. He gave me no answer but the stony look on his face suggested that they were. They didn’t look at us but swung on the bus stop sign and then went to sit on a nearby wooden bar.

I asked the boy if he was all right and got a taught nod in reply. A bus came, and the two other boys got on it.

“They’re going,” whispered my friend. He waited until the bus closed its doors and departed. Then stood up. “They’ve gone,” he said.

“Will you be all right?” I asked. He nodded and walked away. No word of explanation; no word of thanks. Not that I needed the latter though I would dearly have liked to investigate the circumstances and causes of his fear. Was it bullying? A gang dispute? Is that the end of it or will the story continue? I will never know.


1 It’s a wide-brimmed Fedora, in case you’re curious. The Panama has been put away for the winter.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Tiger plays bodyguard

  1. emalyse says:

    Nice to know that the youth deemed you a suitable ‘human shield’/safe adult/ authority figure (take your pick).Maybe it was the hat (good choice by the way) or maybe the book says something too.Trying not to think of alternative scenarios for this event though.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    Indeed, you hear of bad things happening even among young people.

    It reminds me of a similar occurrence some years ago. I was alone in a lift in the Underground, waiting to be taken up. I was sitting at one end of the bench. (The old Underground lifts had benches.)

    I heard high-heeled shoes approaching as if someone was walking very fast. A woman entered the lift and sat so close to me that our bodies were touching, despite there being plenty of room on the bench. No one else got into the lift. At the top, she sped off. Not a word was exchanged between us.

    Was she afraid of someone coming along behind her and did she seek the “protection” of a stranger? Again, I will never know.

    As for the book, yes, maybe it does say something. I was thinking of having a badge made in the form of a miniature version of the front cover 🙂

  3. athinkingman says:

    I have always thought there is something very majestic and threatening about tigers, and I wouldn’t want to argue with one who was protecting cubs 🙂

  4. SilverTiger says:

    Wait til you see a tiger in a black wide-brimmed Fedora.

    Now that is majestic 😉

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