Serving for his queen and country, Gary Waterman joined the foreign office in his 20’s and has since had multiple careers that are testing and dangerous. I met with him as he shares the encounters that he has experienced.
Mr Waterman, now a Southeastern Railway employee, is attracted to dramatic careers. In his twenties, he began working in the foreign office as security after his previous career shut down.
I sit across from him while drinking his tea in the comfort of his own home as he begins to open up about his past:
“When i look back on it, I suppose I would take more chances.”
These are strong words coming from a man who has had two near death experiences.
As Gary sipped his drink, he reflected on his most memorable day of work was when the IRA bombing hit london. He was working in downing street when the IRA targeted London. One missile exploded in the gardens of no.10, another landed in the snow by a statue, 10 feet away from him. As he recalls the surreal day, the sentence: “if the statue was hit, the explosion would have gone off and killed me.” really solidifies that he would not be here today, and consequently, neither would I. When I asked how he felt about that day, he responded
“My philosophy is that everything happens for a reason, I have always said that”
He left the foreign office in the year 2000, after 5 years of service. From there he started working for Aspreys (the Royal Jewelers) where he met many famous people and faced his biggest challenge to date, having a child.
In 2007 he joined the railway and worked his way up to his position now; a team leader. Although the company and job title are different now, his new line of work is similar to his previous careers as Gary is a also a member of the rail care team.
“The rail care team deals with many issues, from recovering support for major incidents such as threats and suicides to simple derailments”
I visited Gary at his place of work ,which was incredibly busy and filled with all types of people, and saw first hand the situations and struggles that he deals with on a day to day. Although the job is not always filled with drama and danger, the everyday struggle presented during my visit were obvious. While there I saw many interactions between passengers and Gary of all different disabilities, ages, nationalities and issues. In the space of twenty minutes, he placed a visually impaired customer on the train and pointed a woman who could only speak chinese in the right direction.
Abul, Gary’s colleague of two years said:
“The station wouldn’t run without him. He always goes the extra mile and does more than he needs to do.”
When i asked Abul about how he feels about his colleague and friend, he replied
“I respect him so much”
In closing my interview with Gary, I asked if there was anything he kept in mind when he reflects on his life:
“I have always said, what will be will be.”