Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, you’ll know that last night London was struck by another round of barbaric terror attacks. I have lived on the edge of London my entire life, and moved to Central last July. The 7/7 bombings on the underground were nearly 10 years ago now – I was on the exact same tube at the exact same time just 24 hours before. During the Westminster attacks a few months ago, I was in class at college. Last night, however, during the London Bridge attacks, it the first time in nearly 20 years of living in London that I have genuinely felt scared in the city that I call home.
Yesterday I worked slightly outside of London. Once I finished my shift, I got on my train and returned to London shortly before midnight. It was only once I was outside waiting for my bus home that I realised something was wrong. As soon as I stepped out of the station all I could see and hear were police cars and ambulances flying past, sirens blaring. I decided to check my phone to see what was happening only to find countless messages asking if I was okay, and at once I was alarmed. Sitting at the bus stop, I got a phone call from one of my closest friends who updated me on everything that was taking place only 10 minutes away from where I was sat on the street; she insisted that I let her know as soon as I was back in my flat.
Now the number of people waiting at the bus stop last night was larger than usual – I assume everyone at the pub next door heard what had happened and decided to call it a night. I had just hung up the phone to my friend (with very low battery remaining) and looked up from my seat at the bus stop to find I was faced with a burly homeless man who didn’t speak English. I accidentally made eye contact with him and immediately looked away, but at this point he’d already started speaking to me in a language I didn’t understand. I chose to ignore him and tried to stand up to walk away, but as soon as I did he blocked me and I couldn’t get up. He was raising his voice and the less I responded, the angrier he got until it got to the point where he was literally in my face screaming at me on my seat. I have literally never felt so scared in my life, and I am someone who is more than capable of standing up for myself.
As the incident got more and more out of hand I started looking around to the people next to me for help; a group of four German tourists had now seen how afraid I was. The girls started to push the guys they were with to help me, and to my dismay they literally turned around and walked behind the bus stop and left me there being screamed at by some stranger towering over me. Following that, the two girls themselves came and pushed the bloke out of the way, put their arms around me and helped me onto the bus that had just pulled up. I never got their names or the chance to thank them properly – but if by some miracle this reaches them I hope they know how grateful I am for their help last night in the most unlikely of situations.
Following this incident which had left me incredibly shaken, all that remained now was the journey home which passed over another of London’s landmark bridges. I was grateful to hear a familiar voice when my best pal rang me again and refused to hang up until I was back in my flat. The journey over the bridge is an image I won’t soon forget; there were police at both ends, sirens wailing as they flew past my bus, and as I looked out of the bus window at London Bridge itself all you could see were red flashing lights dotted across it of the countless police cars and ambulances that had been called to the scene. The rest of the journey was uneventful and having Roop on the phone the entire time to keep me updated and distracted was an absolute Godsend.
This post is more to highlight the importance of people in a time of need than anything else. Everyone in London was scared last night and trying to get home, and in the midst of that two complete strangers came to my rescue when I really needed it. A friend who I’ve not seen in months and lives half way across the country stayed up to make sure I got home safe. London may have been attacked, but it is the people that make Britain great and I know in my heart that the people of our capital will remain strong and won’t let something like this defeat us.
London will not fall, now or ever.