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And I’ll Get To Scotland Before You

, , , , , | Right | June 1, 2017

(I work at an office that offers tours of Scotland and the highlands, although sometimes we can take on private groups. I’m on a late shift by myself and the phone rings.)

Me: “Hello, [Tour Company].”

American-Sounding Girl: “Hi, I wondered if I could get a quote on a private tour?”

Me: “Okay, how many are we talking?”

American-Sounding Girl: “190.”

Me: *thinking “wow!”* “Okay, and were you looking for one of our set itineraries or a custom itinerary?”

American-Sounding Girl: “Well, shall I just tell you the situation and we can take it from there?”

Me: “Sounds good.”

American-Sounding Girl: “Okay, so we’re all college students and we’re looking to organise a large trip to the Superbowl—”

Me: “I’ll just stop you right there. Where are you calling from?”

American-Sounding Girl: “Nova Scotia.”

Me: “Okay, I think you may have the wrong number. This is [Tour Company] in Scotland.”

American-Sounding Girl: “…”

Me: “…so you are just over 2,000 miles closer to the Superbowl than we are…”

American-Sounding Girl: “…”

Me: “…so, you know… it’s only fair to advise you that this would impractically expensive for you.”

(There was a long pause then she burst out laughing, followed by me. We had a good laugh!)

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You’ve Got A Ticket To Ride, Part 2

, , , , , , , | Working | July 18, 2016

(My brother moved to Scotland several years ago. It is quite a long and expensive train journey. About an hour or so away from the station I need to get off at, someone comes along to check the tickets. I hand her mine.)

Ticket Lady: “Um… I’m sorry, but this ticket was to get off in Edinburgh.”

(She hands the ticket back to me and just walks off. I look at it and realise my mistake. I’d bought the ticket from a machine at the train station and must have been thinking of where I needed to change when I chose “Edinburgh” as a destination. For at least ten minutes I sit there silently panicking. Eventually, she comes back. I’ve pulled the last £20 out of my purse to pay for a new ticket to get to where my brother lives, and I explain my mistake. She takes my ticket back to examine it again.)

Ticket Lady: “You’ve already paid £112 on this ticket. To be fair, one to [Destination] won’t cost much more. I will write a note on the back of this explaining that you dropped your ticket while boarding. Give it to whoever is on the ticket barrier at [Destination].”

(I was a little shocked. She even wrote down what must have been her specific employee number to authorise it in case they questioned it at the barrier. She moved off, but I saw her again on the platform when I got off. I thanked her again, and she waved it away as if it was no big deal. She had well and truly made my day. Just a small act of kindness goes a long way! I managed to treat my nephew and brother with my final bit of cash, so she was truly a life-saver. I wish I got her name or even made a note of her employee number; she deserved more than a “thank-you.”)

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Third Time Is A Charming

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | July 17, 2016

(I’m on a trip of firsts: my first trip to Scotland without anyone going with me or meeting me, my first time staying at a “fancy” hotel, my first convention, my first “work” trip, and my first time travelling with crutches. While I can carry my crutches, because I only need them sometimes, I also have three bags: a large handbag, a pull-along bag, and a duffel bag. I’m trying to negotiate the bags and crutches and end up stopping every 50-100m or so to try and sort out a different way of carrying them, with or without using the crutches. I’ve just gotten off the train and ask someone else disembarking if they know where I need to be for my connection. I am standing trying to arrange the bags so I can get to my platform on time, when I see a hand grab one of my bags. Panicking, I look up to see the man I had asked for directions.)

Man: “You know, I got halfway to my platform and I suddenly thought, ‘I’ve left that young lady all alone with all those bags!’ Let me help you with these, and I’ll walk you to your platform.”

(He walks me all the way to the platform, on the opposite side of the station to his, with just enough time for me to get on board. I thank him profusely, sit down, and wait to reach my next station, about 10 minutes down the line. I disembark and am trying to make my way to my hotel, but due to short-term memory problems, I have to stop and check my directions several times, as well as adjusting my luggage, making a 15 minutes walk take nearly 1.5 hours. As I’m walking along, though, this happens: I make it about 100m before having to stop and check I’m on the right street and make my first main luggage adjustment, this time to walking with one crutch and the other tied to my bags. A woman in a business suit, going the opposite way, stops.)

Woman: “Are you all right? You look like you’re going a long way. Hang on a minute and I’ll call a taxi for you.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I don’t have any cash handy so I can’t, but thank you. I’ll be all right.”

(She pauses and watches me get my bags settled, before nodding in agreement and walking away. Another 150m and three adjustments later, I’m carrying all bags, with crutches tucked through the strap of one. A young man, again going the other way, literally skids to a stop from a near-running pace and stares at me.)

Man: “Love, you’re going to break your back that way. Are you going to the [Chain Hotel (whose location I don’t know)]? It’s not far. I can carry your bags for you.”

Me: “I’m afraid I have no idea where that is. I’m going to the [Hotel], but I keep having to check the route.”

Man: “Aw, I’m sorry, hon. I don’t know where that is. Will you be all right, though? I can call a taxi for you.”

Me: “Yep, I’ll be fine. I just need to play a bit more Tetris with these things to get them right.”

(The man grins and walks away and I carry on with my walk. Another 300m later, I’ve finally got them sorted, or so I think, until my pull-along flips over and pulls all the bags out of whack. I stop and, as is my habit, tell them off, before turning around to see a couple standing there with sympathetic smiles on their faces.)

Woman: “You look exhausted. Are you going to [Chain Hotel (same as the man had mentioned)]?”

Man: “We’re going there; we can help you if you like.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m headed for [Hotel] and don’t know where [Chain Hotel] is, or where it is in relation to mine, or I might take you up on that!”

Woman: *chuckles and pats me on the shoulder* “Well, if you spot us on the way and it looks like we’re going the same way as you, give us a shout and we’ll give you a hand.”

(The couple walked away and I managed to carry on with my journey, stopping several times and finding a park bench to sit on for a few minutes. It may have been exhausting, but to have been stopped so many times just by people wanting to help me was the most uplifting welcome to Edinburgh possible. If anyone tells you the people there have big hearts, they’re completely right! Thank you to all those people for being so kind!)

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All You Need Is Love, Not

, , , , , | Romantic | April 18, 2014

(My boyfriend and I are lying in bed with a Beatles album on in the background.)

Boyfriend: “Hmm, these Beatles lyrics… They go a bit overboard on the love stuff sometimes.”

Me: *laughing* “Or maybe they genuinely just are that romantic?!”

Boyfriend: “Nah. I mean, ‘I ain’t got nothing but love, babe, eight days a week’?! Sorry. I love you, but I’ve got other s***, too…”

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Has No Train Of Thought

, , , , , | Right | August 14, 2013

(I work near a property of the Royal Family’s, which is open to the public unless a member of the Royal Family is in residence. Today, this happens to be the case, due to a homecoming procession for a returning regiment. Most tourists hoping to visit have been quite accepting of this, but one American tourist is not.)

Tourist: “Why can’t I get into the castle?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, the Palace is closed to the public today because Princess Anne is in residence for the homecoming procession. It’ll be open tomorrow.”

Tourist: “I’m not here tomorrow! I’m only here today! Why didn’t they hold it tomorrow, so I could go today?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but in fairness, they can’t have been aware of your travel plans.”

Tourist: “Bull-s***! I booked all of my train and plane tickets online!”

Me: “Good for you, sir, but I don’t understand.”

Tourist: “On the internet! They should have checked whether or not people are only going to be here for one day! It’s on the internet, so they can check, obviously! Are you an idiot? Stupid little girls that don’t even speak real English!”

(A soldier walking past the shop looks in, and hears the tourist ranting.)

Soldier: “Sir, do you have a problem with the British military or royalty?”

(The soldier is wearing a large knife on his belt, and carrying a rifle. The angry tourist quickly leaves.)

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