Corporations are perhaps the most vagrant practitioners of euphemism outside of Westminster, softening even the most benign unpleasantness as a matter of habit.
For example, those who lob themselves in front of a train tend to be described as having been “struck” by it – circling the fact that this tends not to happen by accident.
One therefore has to admire the honesty of the staffer at First Great Western who told passengers on a train near Twyford station on Friday that “delays are due to someone who couldn’t be bothered to live any more”, adding commiserations for the disruption to their Bank Holiday (the, er, passengers’ rather than the deceased’s).
Esmee Phillips, an Oxford Brookes student who has been duly quoted by Fleet Street on the matter, told The Reading Chronicle that the announcement was “cruel and tasteless and completely inappropriate” – but forgot to add that it was also quite funny.
Other accounts report people much gasping and tutting from the carriages, though it has been unconfirmed if any women fainted during the shocking scenes.
First Great Western has since been suitably grovelling about the butthurt caused, but whatever training it has in place to ensure teams “make clear announcements about delays” appears to be working rather well.
Header Image – First Great Western at Fareham Station, Chris0693