Salaam alekum

King’s Cross station. 6:20pm. I’m rushing along to catch the next train to Liverpool Street, when a jacket and suitcase step in front of me.

“Salaam alekum.”

This has happened to me before. 5 years ago. My response hasn’t changed.

“Huh?

“Salaam alekum?”

“Huh?

“SALAAM ALEKUM?”

“Huh?

“Aap Pakistani ho?”

“No, India actually.” (smile)

“I just lost my wallet, and I don’t have a ticket. Could you please help me?”

I had all of 5 pounds in my pocket. And I needed that.

“I don’t have cash on me, just a card.” (I meant my travel card. I didn’t have a credit card then.) “Have you tried the Information desk, there? They could help you out, perhaps.”

“Oh, I asked them. But they said I needed a ticket. Even if you have a credit card, that’s fine.” Hmm, that’s being pretty leading…

“Well, if you go over to the Information desk, they can direct you to the nearby police station. And I’m sure the police will find you a way to get home.”

No response.

“OK, let me take you to the Information desk. We’ll ask for the police station.”

“No, no, no. That’s OK. I’ll find my way. Thanks. Bye!”

Vanishes.

Not only am I becoming more socially astute, I’m even beginning to become smart.