I was trying to cast my mind back to when I was 15.
Back in those days there were a few requirements for getting in to places that we shouldn’t have been in. The first was that you had to wear shirts and black trousers. Like, proper trousers, the sort one would wear for work, or a juvenile court appearance.
The second thing you’d need was an ID, but at that time it wasn’t to prove your real age but to try to make a bouncer think that you were older than you were. We were lads and didn’t have the benefit of short skirts and plunging necklines.
At the age of 24 I was asked for ID to buy Sin City on DVD. A few years after that I was asked for ID to buy a lottery ticket. A few years after that I was asked to provide proof of age for buying a gift set containing two bottles of beer and a tankard. You know, cause people not old enough to drink buy gift sets rather than a 6 pack of the only thing they can afford.
Every proof of age I’ve ever needed was to prove I was old enough because society wants to protect people that they deem vulnerable from things that it deems dangerous.
I wasn’t a big user of public transport as a kid. I relied more on lifts because a) they were available and b) where I lived didn’t have many busses going past. I was never asked to prove how young I was like the 15 year old daughter of Timpson’s CEO was asked to do over the weekend when she tried to board a train home from London. A ticket inspector wouldn’t let her on the train because she had a child’s ticket and they thought that she looked older than 16.
Virgin are suggesting that all children should carry proof of age but, at 15, I’m not sure I had one. I certainly didn’t have one that I would be trusted with.
One thing that always bugs me about being asked for ID is “Think 21” because I think there’s quite a difference between 16 or 18 and 21 years old. However, the extra years are a safety net for the aforementioned safety and protection. Of course someone could say that she shouldn’t be travelling on her own if they’re worried about this sort of thing, but I’m going to assume as a 15 year old that Timpson’s daughter doesn’t look entirely self-sufficient. She’d look young enough to need to get home and not be left stranded in a train station.
It appears that there’s a fine line between keeping people safe and running a business, although Ms. Timpson did got on the train in the end.