During the long-running Southern Rail industrial action, we’ve all seen the pictures of massive queues, packed trains and often, no trains at all.
Tuesday saw a nadir in the strike as hundreds of thousands of passengers found their commute to work complicated by the worst disruption in nearly two decades.
Combined with a signal failure at Brixton and flooding repairs in East London, morning travel saw the usual frustration vented on social media.
Amongst all this one tweet in particular stood out.
Jim Boyden commutes daily from Shoreham By Sea to London Victoria on a season ticket that costs more than £430 a month.
He has a son, Zac, 1, and a daughter, Emiko, 3.
This week’s strikes mean he has incurred a hotel bill of a further £400 and being self-employed he has to take the hit on the costs.
More importantly, he tells The Huffington Post UK the strikes have meant he has “missed countless bedtimes, bath times, story times which I will never get back because of Southern”.
He wrote on Twitter:
Hey Southern Rail.
This is Zac. He is my son and because of the strike, I am unable to travel home until Thursday and read him and his sister a story.
Because of your strike we will not discover what animal is hiding in his favourite book tonight or tomorrow night.
Because of your strike , we will be unable to to take me by the hand and show me his favourite toy, which ironically, is a choo choo train.
Because of your strike I will miss his smile.
You can refund me my Season Ticket. You can refund me my hotel. I can even make up time at work, but how - how - are you going to give me back the things money can’t buy?
For God’s sake, sort it out.
The dispute over who should open and close train doors saw Aslef union workers walk out for 48 hours today. A further 24 hours strike is scheduled for Friday.
Jim told the HuffPost UK: “What I’d like to say is that it’s ironic that these strikes are about safety when they resulting overcrowding is making the railways even more unsafe with overcrowded trains and platforms as a result. There is a human impact to this.
“Both my children don’t see their Dad as much as they should. I miss moments of my children’s life I will never ever get back - their smiles, the first time they say new words, the first time they do something new each day. Railways are a public service and they should be treated as such.
“Both Southern and the Unions need to realise the heartbreaking impact they have on family life. The public don’t care how this is resolved and would probably accept higher prices in return for a service that gets us home in time to tuck our children up in bed. Because that is priceless.”