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Connecting with a glance

Tully Zygier

Margie and Lois have taken the same train line to work for the last five years. For the first couple of years, they only ever smiled and said hello to each other. Margie would step to the side when Lois boarded the train to give her some space. Lois, who has cerebral palsy, stopped taking the train one day and Margie was worried. Days later, Margie saw Lois coming towards her in a bright scooter and from that day on they have become firm friends and always check up on each other via email.

Posted by: Tully Zygier, on 28/11/12

Flinders Street analogue clock displaying information on the Upfield line

Meeting at the station.

Five years ago Margie noticed a woman out of the corner of her eye. This woman had a bright smile. She also had problems with her gait, possibly Cerebral Palsy. Margie always made a point of making space for Lois, as they both got on the same train in the morning on their way to work. They never really talked to each other, but they would often exchange smiles and occasionally say hello.

Margie became used to seeing Lois most mornings and there was a comfort in those moments when they smiled at each other. They may never have spoken at all if Margie hadn't noticed that Lois suddenly stopped showing up in the mornings.

Margie worried for her friend, but had no way of contacting Lois as they had no one in common that could provide Margie with the information she so desperately wanted. After six weeks Margie was close to giving up, but was thrilled one morning when she saw Lois heading her way.

Hey you, long time no see

Margie was waiting for the 8.05am train when she saw Lois zooming towards her on a scooter. Startled but relieved, Margie yelled out Lois! even though they had never exchanged names before.

Lois had her name printed in big letters on her scooter and this gave Margie the chance to start up a conversation. Margie also noticed that Lois's gait had deteriorated, so gave her more space to get on the train. Lois had been taking the train to and from work the whole time, but because people using a scooter or wheelchair have to get on board at the front where the driver puts out a ramp, Margie hadn't seen her get on.

Checking in

Since that day a friendship has formed and Margie and Lois have been catching the train together every work day. Other regular passengers often inform Margie and Lois when one or the other is already waiting at the station, making sure they don't miss each other. Lois and Margie are well known on the train and can often be overheard talking about their weekends

But there are some days when Margie doesn't show up at 8:05am. It's either because she's not feeling well, or because she slept in. Sometimes it's a nice day and she actually rides into work. On those days, Lois sits alone but she doesn't worry because they now have a system for checking in on each other.

If either Margie or Lois happen to miss the train, they make a point of emailing each other when they get into their offices, just to make sure things are ok. Margie likes to point out that Lois rarely misses a day of work.

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