By 'eck! They don't make 'em like that any more
He would be met at the foot of the signal box steps by Mr Smith the signalman who's job it was to operate the points and to manually open and close the railway crossing gates. Mr Smith would scoop up my male staff and carry him up the stairs to the signal box because he knew that my male staff was frightened of steps, especially the type with gaps between them. Once up in the box my male staff was usually given orange juice and half of Mr Smith's lunch. Fortunately Mr Smith never shared his snuff with my male staff, but it always fascinated the fat little fellow to see Mr Smith shove a pinch of yellow powder up his nose.
The signal box was fitted with a bank of large steel levers in different colours and Mr Smith would pull the appropriate lever in order to either alter the signals to stop trains or change the points and hopefully send the them off in the right direction. There was one black lever and this is the only one my male staff was allowed to touch. He was allowed to pull this one black lever as much as he liked, which he did. Hopefully it wasn't connected to anything. My male staff didn't mention any great rail smashes where two trains travelling at a closing speed of two hundred miles an hour collided head on due to an inexplicable points error, so I assume that the black lever didn't actually do anything. Either that or it activated a trap door under Mr Smith's boss' chair, wherever he was. I suspect the former to be true which sadly is much less interesting and has far less comedic value. At the end of the week Mr Smith would give my male staff a wage packet for his "help" in the signal box. The wage packet was a little brown envelope with a penny in it. My male staff wasn't to know it at the time of course but this level of salary would help prepare him for his future profession a Reverse People Smuggler, or Travel Agent as he prefers to call himself. Bear in mind though that this was a time when a penny could buy a lot of sweeties for a four year old child, and what a touching gesture it was.
Do men like Mr Smith still exist? Men who are of such a kind, generous disposition? I'm sure they must, but I'm equally sure that they dare not show their kindness to children for fear of opening themselves up to accusations of being paedophiles and having gangs of vigilantes queueing up at their door in the hope that the accused might show himself to take out his garbage bin, thus presenting the mob with the opportunity to beat seven shades of bush chocolate out of him.
The weapon of choice for irate little men.
The cross little man was lucky he didn't tangle with my male staff, he might of accidentally trodden on him with his great size twelve clodhoppers. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be blessed with tiny neat feet like mine.