Mother flooded with Facebook messages after asking Londoners to help her answer question about the Tube for her autistic son

Mother flooded with Facebook messages after asking Londoners to help her answer question about the Tube for her autistic son
By Kashmira Gander
3 September 2015

The abandoned Holborn Station

Dispelling the myth that Londoners are all miserable and self-absorbed, hundreds of people have helped a mother to count the number of platforms across the London Underground network for her train-obsessed son who has autism.

Laura Flora told the "Shit London" Facebook group - normally used for sharing photos of the capital’s less glamorous moments - that her 23-year-old son is passionate about trains, but needs round-the-clock care and therefore cannot travel alone. His latest fixation is finding out how many platforms there are at all 270 stations that make up the network, she said.

“I would REALLY like to not have to spend the next 3 months of my life getting on and off trains counting platforms, so how about if you are at a tube station you could count the platforms if you can see them and tell me which line you are on and North/South/East or Westbound," she wrote on the group page.

Flora told members that she planned to create a wall poster to collate their contributions, but would be equally happy if someone from Transport for London came forward with the information. In less than a day, 700 people had responded to Flora’s request.

Overwhelmed by the reaction, Flora edited her original post to thank the “awesome” group members, some of whom had offered additional information. “Oh my GOD!! How awesome is everyone!!! I am absolutely blown away by this post, seriously!" she said. “Extra thanks for all the extra little bits of information! The end of the lines, the unused platforms. All this little detail really matters to him," she added.

Flora also hit back at the suggestions that she could have lied to her son rather than attempting to put together an accurate map. “I know to some it seems easier to lie, but I don't lie to him, I would rather do the miles than deceive," she responded.

The mother explained that she planned to surprise her son with the map, and asked those involved to send her their names “so when he looks and sees it he knows that all these wonderful WONDERFUL people helped him.”

Around one in 100 people have autism spectrum disorder in the UK, according to the NHS. Developing a highly specific interest in a subject is among the symptoms of autism. Other signs include finding it difficult to interact with others, and moving in a repetitive way.

Source: Independent UK