Stupidity is Global, but so is Bravery

Lotte and I were in Barcelona on the weekend, travelling on a train when a young guy standing next to us was attacked by thugs. It was just before 11pm and the trains were full, mostly with soccer fans returning from a big game that day. As we entered the carriage I noticed two guys with short cropped hair, army boots and the sort of straight-legged jeans of a trademarked 1970s skinhead. To top it off, even though they were speaking Catalan, they were sporting Union Jacks on their jackets, which made me think more of certain skinhead revivalists and their Nazist tendencies. They were probably about 18, sitting with their legs propped up across the benches, and travelling with a girl who was carrying a small white bulldog. It was the sort of group you generally try to avoid. We kept an eye on them until they got up to leave, pushing past me towards a young guy with long hair, probably 16 or 17, standing near the door right behind me. They started to speak to him, obviously taunting him, and one of them reached out and pulled his hair. Hard. He resisted answering them, and then as the train pulled up to the station each of the guys took a swing at him. They hit him hard — one of the guys connected flush on with his face, sending his head backwards into the wall. It was all too fast to do anything much, and he just stood his ground. He was okay, physically, but I could see how shaken he was by it, as you would expect. All I want to do now is tell that guy how brave I thought he was to just stand there and not give the guys the satisfaction of a fight that could have ended very badly. We reported the thugs at the station, but that was all we could do. Sorry, kid.

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