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 mins down the line. I disembark and am trying to make my way to my hotel, but due to short term memory problems, have to stop and check my directions several times, as well as adjusting my luggage, making a 15 min 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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