One of the reasons I have become so obsessed with communications is that, when I was about 10 years old, I was subjected to mild bullying because I had a slight speech impediment. It only lasted a short time, was nothing more than a few catty remarks, but what hurt was that it was me against a group. It upset me, shook me up and made going to school not a lot of fun.
After a brilliant day of meetings I've just changed buses on the way home at Elephant and Castle. As I jumped off my first bus a group of people rushed passed and I was met by a wall of high pitch squeal, squawks and shouting. A large group of school kids in their early teens had formed a tight circle around two boys, one much bigger than the other. I saw the bigger one snatch something out of the younger boys hand, throw it to the floor and stamp on it. The group of kids - most of them girls - scattered so I moved to where they had been fearing the worst.
The smaller, younger boy picked up his, now smashed i phone, and walked past me towards the bus I was waiting for. Only I had made any attempt, however pathetic, to intervene. Everyone else stood, diligently waiting for their bus and their means of escape, not wanting to get involved.
The boy and I got on the bus. He was visibly shaking. As we moved off, tears started to roll down his cheeks, only for him to quickly wipe them away as we pulled up at the next stop. A group of larger boys were waiting at this stop. He clearly thought they were his earlier pursuers as he tensed; I've never seen such fear in someone's eyes.
Thankfully they weren't and I hope he is home safely now. I witnessed this one incident but how often does this happen to him? It was his phone today, what might it be in future?
What about the large group of children involved in making one boys life such a misery? Surely this is another example of where society is broken. This group of children were more like animals than human beings. This was not a bit of youthful exuberance, this was bullying. Sadly it was accompanied by too many people happy to walk on by rather than step in and make a difference. A depressing end to a good day.