Jessica was sat next to the window on her Cross Country train to Wolverhampton.
She was on the way to meet Josh, her kind-of-but-not-really-because-he-wouldn’t-acknowledge-her-Facebook-relationship-request boyfriend, who she’d met on Tinder a couple of months earlier. It was a cold, thankless journey and with only 7% phone battery left, she was relieved when the train finally shuddered to a halt.
As she jostled her way off the train and through the crowds, a curious sight unfolded before her.
A little boy, perhaps three or four years old, was being pulled along the platform by his father. With one hand clutching his father’s and the other trailing along a grubby toy rabbit, the boy was chattering excitedly. Just as they reached the stairs, his tiny fingers lost grip of the rabbit and it fell to the ground.
Her heart thudding, Jessica had a sudden realisation. This was it. This was her chance to shine. This was the moment her whole life had been leading to.
Everything around her seemed to slow down. She was in a tunnel of clarity, surrounded by a sea of grey, shapeless faces, and she, and only she, could emerge victorious.
Striding towards the rabbit, she called out to the boy. “Excuse me, you dropped this,” she said, as she scooped the toy into her hands and extended it towards him.
“Tha…” he lisped, but Jessica heard him not, as she had whipped out her phone and was logging into Facebook.
Just chased after a little boy who’d dropped his toy rabbit on the train platform. The look of joy on his face when I gave it him back gives me hope #ItsTheLittleThingsInLife she typed.
Her mind whizzed with sums. By her calculations, this good deed would garner at least 57 likes, maybe even a couple of shares. After that, who knew. Her mate Tasha had told a girl she had toilet paper stuck to her shoe in the toilets in BaBas, and she’d gone viral. She’d appeared on ITV’s This Morning with Phil and Holly, released a fragrance and had been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde.
But, as with everything in life, there was a catch. It had been decreed that if a good deed was not posted on social media within one minute, time would erase the deed – as if it had never happened.
A bell chimed three times, symbolising that Jessica had 10 seconds left to post her good deed on Facebook before it was reversed.
‘God,’ she trembled, her brow beading with sweat. ‘Smiley face emoji or no smiley face emoji?’
Jessica’s phone died.
“No!” She screamed, falling to her knees.
In the distance, a child’s cries echoed in the night.