Saturday 19 January 2019

This man’s sneezing commuter story is a tale of bravery in desperate circumstances

This sneezing teen is everybody’s hero.

This is the most dramatic sneeze-related tale you will ever hear (Peter Jordan/PA)
This is the most dramatic sneeze-related tale you will ever hear (Peter Jordan/PA)

By Grace Rahman, Press Association

It was a pretty ordinary day for barrister Jamie Susskind, and he was on his usual, if a little depressing, commute on the London Underground.

The mood on his train was particularly bad, and tensions were already running high before the drama kicked off.

But things were about to get much worse than being squashed into unwashed, or over-perfumed fellow travellers.

The commuter describes seeing the face of teenage boy squashed next to the doors of the carriage, “his wee head like the end of a sausage poking out of a hot dog” with a look on his face of “sheer terror”.

But what on Earth was wrong with the poor guy?

Onlookers could see it in his eyes, he was desperate to sneeze.

There’s only so much you can do to avert one, and this guy was doing everything he could to suppress it.

But there was nothing to be done, and it was only a matter of time before the teenager turned this section of a rush hour tube carriage into his own personal sneeze splash zone.

Despite looking “like a man who has been sent to the gallows”, he continued to fight the urge to sneeze, frightening those in its direct path as they noticed the fearful look in his eyes.

The tweet thread’s author knew he was safe, but he still pitied the poor guy, who was about to make an enemy of everyone there.

It seems like the teenager’s fate was sealed, until this water cooler moment turned into something the onlookers would tell their grandchildren.

The sneeze hits, but he somehow manages to save himself, and others, from the ultimate public transport faux pas – getting bodily fluids on fellow commuters.

According to Susskind, the guy’s “entire face – cheeks and upper neck area – expand outward like a bullfrog before rapidly contracting again”.

Then “he emits two noises simultaneously: a high-pitched squeak and a deep, guttural moan”.

Anything’s better than sneezing on the very passengers who are huddled so tightly against you that they are effectively holding you up.

And his actions were undoubtedly heroic – especially considering the news last week that a man ruptured his throat by stifling a sneeze.

In a case report published in the British Medical Journal, a 34-year-old man had to be fed through a tube for a week after he clamped his nose and mouth shut to suppress a violent sneeze.

With a bow of his head, the sneeze-stifling stranger accepted the silent appreciation of this commuter, and presumably went on with his day.

But he’s a hero, that’s for sure.

Press Association

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