Faith in humanity restored October 16, 2007Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
Tags: bank regulations, german tourists, kindness, london, luton airport
I’m just back from a tiring but very enjoyable trip to the big smoke of London and felt the need to share with people some very nice moments that made me a little less cynical about life … a least for a while !
‘Tis not often that another person goes out of their way to help a person in need, but when I found myself on the wrong side of said situation early on Sunday morning – with a plane to catch – I was delighted at the generosity of strangers.
Picture the scene – It’s before 6am, the streets are deserted and there is a cold mist falling – not rain, but just enough to wet you. Of course you have packed your jacket into your main bag because the last few days were rather humid and you’ve been doing a lot of walking. You have 2 and a half hours to make an hour and a half’s journey to Luton airport and then things start to go wrong.
First of all there are no tubes on the line I needed before 7am on a Sunday ! Such neanderthal-ism ! OK, so at least they have a tube system … and I had just been stung with a hotel rate quoted exVAT (ever heard of that ?) meaning I had to make an extra trip to the hole in the wall for funds. So I reach the train station to be informed by a poster that there were no trains at all on my line until 11am ! Not good for a 9am flight. Not good at all. Luton airport is 45 miles away from the centre of London and a taxi, I’m reliably informed, will cost £80 ! (Velly good price for you my fren).
And so I ask some German tourists would they like to share and lo and behold they can’t speak English so its a good job I can speak the old German – I knew that degree would come in handy ! And so we set out in a taxi for Luton, stopping at 3 different bank machines along the way in order to get some more money – but NO !!! the extra hotel dosh has hit and brought me over my daily limit (I did go slightly mad in Harrod’s earlier in the weekend !) … so there I was, a third of the way to Luton with no £s, plenty of money in the bank but no access to it (my money !), just €20 for the car park at home and nowhere to turn …
The taxi man of course was about to chuck me out when the good Germans turn and say that they will pay, otherwise how I would get to the airport ? So logical and kind ! By this stage I was beginning to panic as I couldn’t go back to London or go any further without money. And so I graciously accepted and as a pitiful token of my appreciation, handed over my business card wrapped in the €20 and a 2 pound coin I found in the bottom of my carry on bag. It was all I had in the world – how reliant we are on the rules of technology.
When we got to the airport, I made a point of insisting that they follow me to the bank machine to see if I could get any more money but no, the card hoodoo had struck again. I was penniless but thanks to the kindness of strangers I was safe. I looked around and they were gone – off into the endless Easy-jet queues to line up for a flight to Dortmund or Hannover or somewhere in that wonderful country. I bet they’ll never even write to me to ask.
So a huge “Herzlichen Dank” to the German tourists … Ich wünsche Ihnen ein schönes Leben noch !
PS – Picture the scene when I find €5 in my clothes and change it into £3 and buy a sandwich – trying to find the most isolated area in the airport in case the Germans saw me and thought me a chancer who really had money all along … I scuttled into a corner with the paper I found on the floor and my treasonous sandwich and longed for boarding time !