Tales of the Unexpected: An Eventful Commute and a Mysterious Stranger…

“We do not create our destiny; we participate in its unfolding. Synchronicity works as a catalyst toward the working out of that destiny.” ~ David Richo (The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know)

As I’m in a storytelling mood I thought I’d relate a recent audition anecdote.

Late Thursday afternoon I took my son William to London for a film audition. He was desperate to go, his last one was for a small part in Pirates of the Caribbean 5, many months ago. I arranged for my girls to go to an afterschool Halloween party so Will and I could enjoy some rare mother and son time.

We made our way to the casting agent’s office located on the colourful and vibrant Portobello Road in London’s trendy W11. Being to the west of central London I had considered driving, but I knew that the traffic would be stressful, and with my previous track record of parking in London I should find another solution!

Will had learnt his script on the train, and for once we arrived in good time. There was no-one else in the waiting room and Will had his usual 10 minute audition with the casting agent and we were back on the street just before twilight descended.

We had a pleasant walk, passing the candy coloured houses, even if I did manage to navigate a an entirely different route back to Notting Hill Gate.

old house near Portobello Rd

We normally grab a fast food meal when he’s done an audition, but Will was keen to go to Nando’s (his favourite restaurant chain), and persuaded me with gusto that he deserved a Nando’s because he had earlier that day been invited by the head of science at his school to study the single sciences for GCSE, (he’s been working hard and revising for exams to get into triple science, which is only offered to the top 10% of students in the year), so I could hardly refuse!

Nando’s was conveniently located near Notting Hill Gate tube station and he heartily tucked into a hot meal. When I say hot, I mean hot. He tried the extra hot sauce this time, handling it with aplomb. Only a really runny nose and a bright purple face gave away his perverse pleasure at eating their most feared dish. I was getting hot flushes just from the chilli fumes coming out of his pores!

I urged him on (he likes to eat leisurely when in Nando’s), as I knew we had to get to South Ruislip station by 18.59 where we had to change from the central line tube onto the mainline train that would take us to High Wycombe. Many of the trains between Marylebone and High Wycombe only stop at Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield. I knew if we missed it we’d be sat on a cold, dark and deserted platform for ages…

We left Nandos at about 18.15 and settled in on the long tube journey. We finally trundled into South Ruislip at 18.56 and most of the commuters disembarked with us. I could see the mainline train waiting at the other platform, so we ran as quickly as we could down the stairs, dodging through throngs of people and bounding up the other side, only to see the train pulling out of the station. We must have missed it by about ten seconds.

As I was still struggling for breath from our little sprint I couldn’t even verbalise just how cross I was!

The driver had departed two minutes ahead of schedule, he hadn’t even bothered to wait and see if there was anyone from the tube who wanted to change platforms. William wandered up the platform as I cussed and cursed the train driver. Thanks to him we could get mugged, stabbed or robbed, as all sorts of scary images entered my mind.

By now it was dark and getting cold, so I sat down in resignation of the exact scenario I had so wanted to avoid. It seemed everyone had left and the station was deserted except for Will and I. About a minute passed and then a strange thing occurred.

Nancy Thayer

Without me really noticing a young Asian man appeared from nowhere and sat next to me on the bench. I turned to him and immediately felt comforted.

He was obviously not of evil intent, but well dressed in a suit, I would say in his early thirties. Will had walked back over and he started chatting to us. It seemed we weren’t the only ones who hadn’t meant to be waiting around on a shadowy, shivery platform. He had been travelling on the mainline train from Marylebone to High Wycombe, when, for some inexplicable reason as his train stopped at South Ruislip and lots of people got off, he got off too, without realising it wasn’t his intended destination.

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” ~ Albert Einstein

So there we were; an unusual trio. We learnt his name was Aaron. He showed us pictures of himself on the Great Wall of China and he told us about  travelling through Japan on the Bullet train in response to William asking randomly how fast they go after a fast train had whizzed past us on the way to Birmingham.

He asked about us, so we told him about the audition and he established a great rapport with Wills, asking him what he wanted to do. I jokingly pointed out that he didn’t appreciate his mother at the moment, being a supremely vain, confident, knowledgeable (and often ratty), 13 year old boy. Aaron told us that his mother lived with him and his family. He spoke with such wisdom and friendliness it had a profound impact on both of us.

He told us that in many cultures extended families were still at the forefront of life, but since the industrial revolution and the emerging capitalist culture of ‘me first’ in the west, families were more separated.

He said, “I’m a Muslim, and we have a saying: the gates of paradise lies at the feet of the mother.”

He seemed almost prophetical. He then went on to tell William that although he may not appreciate me, his mother at the moment, that would change and that he should remember me when he’s attending premieres on the red carpet. He told William that he had the right look to be a top actor and certainly the brains.


Twenty minutes went in a blur and the mainline train duly stopped at the platform. We got on, but didn’t sit together. It turned out that this train was terminating at Gerrards Cross, so two stops later the three of us found ourselves in déjà vu back on a cold platform, but this time under shelter and with plenty of lights. We wandered over to the taxi rank but it was too pricey, so went back to waiting and chatting on the empty platform.

We discovered that Aaron was an investment banker in the city, he specialised in recovery from the financial crisis, so I asked if he dealt with large sums of money, to which he replied, “Billions,” without even batting an eyelid. I think our mouths were gaping at this point. I asked if he got nervous working with huge funds, and he acquiesced that he did at first, but now he was used to it.

He explained that he was salaried on 200K, and showed Will his top of the range Rolex watch. He didn’t come across as being materialistic to me, I felt he was encouraging William more by telling him that he had worked hard, (degrees from Oxford) and that Will could achieve that if he worked hard too. He was preaching to the converted, Will is super conscientious and ambitious, but I could see that Aaron had made a very positive impression on him.

Soon the train arrived and we were once more hurtling towards High Wycombe. When we got off he quickly disappeared into the crowd and we went back to our car.

Both Will and I had a feeling of synchronicity – like we were meant to meet him on that platform. You had to be there to fully appreciate the profundity of it! So, Aaron, if you ever read this; thank you for being our companion for the evening!

Deepak Chopra - synchronicity

I love this short video by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer about synchronicity and strawberry icecream:

I narrowly avoided a car accident on the way back from the station, and I got thinking that maybe our encounter with the mysterious Aaron at South Ruislip and Gerrards Cross was a good omen for the film part and Will’s future career.

We were both exhausted by the time we got home. The things I do for love!

“Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.” ~ Carl Jung

During half term I’ll be taking them all to hopefully glimpse their brother as an extra (tribal boy) in the Warner Bros. Pan film:

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