My 10 pence Miracle

The digital clock at Queens park station flashed 7:45. Breathlessly, I searched my pockets for my student oyster card. I had just run 10 minutes, non-stop from my cosy studio flat, determined to catch the next available train to Willesden Junction. Once there, I would then need to change for the train to Richmond, and finally from Richmond, change for a train to Kingston. My final destination being Kingston University.

Of all the days to be late, today was not one. I was a final year student and had a 2 hour exam starting at 9 o’clock.

As I touched my oyster card on the reader, the barrier refused to open. I touched it again. This time my eyes shifted from the barrier to the message on the reader. ‘Seek Assistance’ was the message displayed.

My heart sank! ‘Lord, I cannot miss this exam,’ I said to myself. With haste, I joined the short queue to the customer service officer. Every second waiting was excruciating. 7:48 flashed on the clock. I took a nervous breath. I looked worriedly at the Customer service box. Only one assistant, leisurely taking her time to serve. “Typical. Just typical”, I began to complain to myself. All the while looking intently at the assistant, hoping she would catch my eye and see my desperation. I tapped my feet nervously.

7:51.

I began biting down aggressively on whatever remaining finger nails I had left. “Next customer please,” rang the strong yet friendly African accent. I stepped forward. “Hi there,” I managed. “I need your assistance,” I said, as I placed my card on the reader. “You don’t have any money on there.” Not what I wanted to hear. “Really?” I replied, trying to act surprised, as I felt for some money in my cheap but cheerful jacket. Finding any money would be a miracle! I was so broke!! Lord let me have some money, I begged silently, all the while trying to maintain a calm (I’ve got this) facade.

As I felt through the maze of tissues, empty wrappers, receipts and God knows what else, I managed to pull out all the change I could find in my pockets. “I need a return ticket to Kingston please,” I declared, as I hastily handed over my loose change.

7:52.

I waited anxiously as her chubby fingers counted the money. “You are 10 pence short,” replied the assistant. I don’t quite know if she sensed my desperation and uneasiness or perhaps she heard the pleas for help that were rocketing from my mind to God.

“Don’t worry“, she said with a smile, “I will add the 10 pence for you, but give it back on your return.”

“I will,” I promised. “ Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I rejoiced. Were it not for the glass between us, I would have kissed her.

7:53

I ran down the steps and hopped on the train, giving praise to God. I got to university on time, sailed through my exam and started my journey home. As I walked from the university to the station, my mind ran back to the words I had uttered to the ticket assistant at Queens Park. Immediately my eyes began to search desperately for a 10 pence piece, along the pavements. I was willing to even pick up 2 pence and 1 pence coins off the ground to the total of 10 pence, but I could not find a single unwanted coin.

I journeyed from Kingston to Richmond and then from Richmond to Willesden Junction station. I came off the train and headed to the appropriate platform for my last train back to Queens Park. Only two stops to Queens Park and still no 10pence coin. I wanted desperately to pay back the money as I had promised.

As I approached the platform I noticed that the train was already there, and so I made a mad dash down the steps, skipping at least what seemed like 5 steps at a time. Just as I made it to the bottom, I heard the familiar “door closing” alert. I rushed into the carriage even though I could have easily waited for the next train. In fact, I normally walked to the end of the platform and got on the last carriage as it meant I would be at the right end to exit the station at Queens Park.

However, for reasons unknown to me at the time, I rushed into the first carriage just as the door was shutting.

Low and Behold, right there in front of me, lay the shiniest most beautiful 10p coin I had ever seen. Fresh from the mint!!

Gaining some composure and without any hesitation I picked up my 10p coin, though it felt more like a million pounds! Hugging it to my chest, I began to smile till my smile turned to outright laughter.

“God you are so funny,” I kept laughing and repeating.

I made it to Queens Park station and with joy leapt up the stairs. I headed with purpose to the Customer Service desk where the very kind assistant was still sitting leisurely.

“Here you are my darling,” I smiled beaming with joy, as I handed over my 10p miracle coin.

“You are a good girl,” she smiled back.

“No, God is a good God,” came my response as I pointed upwards. I stepped out of the station, into the warmth of the sun light.

“God you have done it again,” I laughed.

“There you go again, showing up in spectacular fashion!”

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