Followed and intimidated by a drunk on the train

New submission from Emily

I was getting the train with a female friend from Orpington and we were travelling to Excel. It was morning and she wanted to stay in the waiting room on our platform until our train arrived. My gut feeling told me that it wasn’t a good idea, but we decided to chance it after some debate. We hadn’t been in the room for long before we were joined by a drunk middle-aged man.

We didn’t pay much attention until he started muttering to himself and behaving strangely. I suddenly asked him what was wrong. I didn’t mean to. I don’t remember much, but I remember him discussing he’d been on a night out, and sensing red flags from his behaviour. I did what any uncomfortable person would do and said I was going outside. He and my friend reminded me the train wasn’t due yet. The only reason I stayed there was to protect my friend.

When our train came, we walked several carriages away then boarded. Later, we heard an amused voice say, “You didn’t think you’d escape from me, would you?” To my horror, he had followed us! He kept making conversation and looked us up and down. When he realised I was scared, this excited him more. He admitted to being an alcoholic which really terrified me, especially since we were the only three in the carriage. He made presumptions about our age and asked about a range of topics (none sexual) and if my family were alcoholics, saying they should be. My friend and I gave limited answers, praying he would leave us alone and get the hint.

We were wrong.

He asked us for our names. I lied about mine and so did my friend. When we neared our stop I remember promoting my friend and swiftly getting up and waiting by the doors. He never actually touched us, but I’d been planning an escape in case he’d tried.

I didn’t look back when we got off the train. Having experienced a panic attack, it took a while to calm down. Speaking about what happened sometimes helps and sometimes it doesn’t. A few people said they didn’t want to hear it anymore and believe I was overreacting, including my friend who said, “He was just drunk. Don’t worry about it.” I hated being told I was making too much of a big deal and it felt all the more dehumanising.

Thankfully, we haven’t seen him again.