Woman on Train Wakes to Napkin on Her Lap, Money Hidden Underneath


Hearing people talk on the phone is a common thing we witness every day while out and about. The thing is, phone conversations are happening around us all the time, and given the situation, sometimes it’s hard not to listen in on someone’s chat.

Most of the time, if we’re listening in — whether on purpose or not — we’re just collecting information or forming a judgment about the person speaking.

That’s not everyone’s mode of operation, though. Some people listen, hear, and then act on the information they’ve gleaned, and in the most lovely of ways.

What happened to 23-year-old college graduate Ella Johannessen is the perfect example of this. She came across an eavesdropper while riding the train Saturday, Jan. 27.

Elizabeth Warren Now Coming for Your Sandwiches: 'Today's Left Is Out of Control'

However, that wasn’t the beginning of her story. Since graduating from Leeds Beckett University in England, Johannessen has been going through some difficult times.

She told BBC News that her finances had started to suffer during her final year in college. At the time, she had quit her part-time job in order focus on school full-time.

Slowly but surely, her debt had grown, and that train ride was where she had one of her more stressful moments. After boarding a Virgin Trains East Coast service at Peterborough station, Johannessen grabbed a seat and immediately called her mom.

In a detailed Facebook post, she recalled the conversation being about “how little money” she had. She was also upset about a £35 bank transfer that never showed up in her account.

Worried and upset about her financial situation, she soon hung up the phone with her mom and decided to take a nap. Nearly half and hour later, Johannessen woke to find a napkin placed on her lap.

There was £100 hidden underneath and clearly left by a complete stranger. Johannessen instantly became emotional.

“I started to cry – this is because I was incredibly thankful for your kindness to someone you don’t even know,” she said in her post.

“After a terrible 18 months where I lost my father and both of his parents it showed me that there is kindness and good people in the world.”

Gang Storms Haitian Hospital, Takes Hundreds of Women and Children Hostage

Johannessen was hoping she could locate the mystery giver through Facebook to personally thank them. She said, “I would like to tell the person that they are a fantastic human being and it has really lifted my spirits and massively helped me out.”

There’s a good chance that the mysterious giver will see the message, since it’s been shared over 11,000 times and covered by various media outlets.

There’s no telling how Johannessen chose to spend the £100, but surely it was for a good reason. In her case, eavesdropping worked in her favor.

Someone heard her cry for help and was nice enough to bring her a little bit of comfort. And, as many of these stories go, Johannessen said her plan is to also pass the kindness on and possibly pay it forward by volunteering at a local charity.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.