The wreckage of a commuter train sits at the Madrid station of Atocha after bombs exploded during the 2004 terrorist attack. (Photo Source: Sergio Barrenechea/Corbis)
On April 29 and 30, residents of the European capitals and big cities began receiving messages from their friends and family, asking them not to use underground trains on May 1. The reason was a story which, varying slightly in the details depending on the country where it was told, can be summed up as follows:
Some woman, walking in the street, saw that from the pocket of a man who walked some meters before her fell a wallet. Being an honest person, the woman called him, explained the situation and gave him the wallet.
The man, who turned out to be a Muslim immigrant (his nationality varies from “Moroccan” in Spain and Portugal to “Maghrebi” in France and “Pakistani” in Great Britain) was greatly appreciative because he had money, documents and credit cards in that wallet, and then said something to the effect of: “You are a good woman, you’ve helped me. Now, I want to help you. Don’t use underground trains on May 1; better use a bus. And in general try to avoid places where there is a big concentration of people on that day”…