ONE story which appeared in the News this week seemed to strike a particular chord across the world.
But what did the altercation between “Ned on a Train” and “The Big Man” tell us about ourselves?
To recap, mobile phone footage went viral on the internet which showed a passenger ejecting a youth from a ScotRail train in West Lothian after he refused to budge when he couldn’t produce a ticket.
The initial reaction was to proclaim the “Big Man” – Alan Pollock, who works in Edinburgh’s financial district – a have-a-go hero.
It was only later that we heard the other side of the story – from student Sam Main, who claimed he had bought the wrong ticket but was not given the chance to explain himself.
What should happen next? As is so often the case in such matters, there is right and wrong on both sides. Enough confusion, in fact, to suggest that there is no point in the police wasting any more time or public money looking at possible prosecutions.
As far as we know, neither Pollock nor Main has any history of troublemaking. Both probably wish the incident had never happened and should be allowed to return to anonymity.
The one formal investigation which should take place is at ScotRail.
The train firm surely has protocols if a staff member is in dispute with a passenger, such as taking their details for further inquiries or calling ahead for assistance.
It is unlikely such protocols include recruiting the burliest member of the public as a bouncer.
There should be an informal probe too, in the head of every other person on the train, not least Ian Helms, who watched through his phone lens.
Were other passengers so angry at a few minutes delay that they couldn’t hear out both sides? Or were they just frozen in the role of observers, unwilling to intervene to help either the conductor, Main or Pollock?
Either way, it doesn’t say much for them, or unfortunately for our society as a whole.