Unexpected acts of kindness

Safely aboard the Paris-bound Chunnel train

Good news – age spots on my hands, wrinkles around my eyes and a look of experience have finally reaped a few rewards!

Let me explain. The first reward came when I hopped off the London Underground in Hammersmith I was greeted with a long flight of stairs. A huge inward groan. I’d barely started my three-week adventure and my half-empty suitcase was already at the upper end of the weight limit, plus I was carrying two items of hand luggage – precious camera equipment in one all other personal items in another.

Then joy of joys, a tweed-encased english gent offered to carry my suitcase up the stairs. Little did he realise the weight – but he was stoic and after my 27-hours flight, I was incredibly grateful!

My daughter and I were scheduled to travel by train from London to Paris the next day. We had bought our tickets separately, both opting for the less expensive non-transferable option and as it happened our times differed by an hour and a half. We arrived earlier than necessary at St Pancras, hoping to change the tickets so that we could travel together.

The answer from customer service reps was an unequivocable ‘no’. Ket was having a bit of difficulty printing out her e-ticket from a non-responsive terminal so after seeking help a lovely dark skinned and dreaded young man cranked it back into action.

We made our way to the check-in early after hearing on the loudspeakers that the trains were full and there were likely to be delays getting on.

As I waved goodbye saying “See you in Paris”, the same young man who’d helped us five minutes earlier came up to me.

“What train are you on?” he asked.

“I’m on the 12.29.”

“I’m not supposed to do this. Do you know what carriage your daughter is in?”

“No, but we don’t really need to be together.”

With a smile on his face, he bent the rules, changed my ticket and waved me goodbye as I went through the checkout.

What a fantastic service experience!

Getting back to my opening line, throughout our three weeks of shlepping bags on and off trains, up and down stairs, and along cobbled streets – I had many offers of assistance. Not so my daughter! Finally – age over beauty …

or …

do I really look that incapable? I’m not knocking it – really I’m not.


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