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A mum who turned to social media to help her autistic son in his quest to learn about the London Underground has thanked the hundreds of people who responded to her unusual message.
Laura Flora's 23-year-old son has long been obsessed with all forms of transport, but recently became particularly preoccupied by the Tube. Keen to know every detail of the network, he fixated on the number of platforms it contains.
"I think him just knowing how to get to places is his way of dealing with the lack of independence he has in real life," Flora said of her son, who requires around-the-clock care.
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She explained the situation on Facebook group Sh** London, where 26,000 members share photos of the city's less savoury corners. "I would REALLY like to not have to spend the next 3 months of my life getting on and off trains counting platforms," she said. As an alternative to riding the rails "with a notebook and an autistic man", she asked those travelling through a Tube station to let her know how many platforms were there.
The unusual crowd-sourcing request clearly caught the imagination of the group, garnering more than 700 replies in two days. As well as their platform counts, many people offered extra bits of Underground trivia, and some Tube workers even joined in to offer their assistance.
Flora now plans to comb through the reams of comments and compile the information into a giant wall poster to surprise her son when he returns from a visit to see his father. She told the Facebook group that she hopes to make a list of all the commenters who came to her aid to show her son "that all these wonderful WONDERFUL people helped him".