The first evening we spent in London, we were in Covent Garden heading towards Haagen Dazs, when we were handed a tract by a gentleman on the street. We'd walked quite a few yards before we realised what we'd been given, and after we read it, we headed back to speak to our tract-giver. The gentleman was from Columbia, and barely had any English. I was so moved that this man, with his inability to speak in the language of the country in which he was, was doing all he could for the good of the souls around him, and for God's glory.
No English, but a love for His Saviour and for his fellow-man. I felt privileged to have met him, and to have been able to say a very few words to him.
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In general, we found the people with whom we came into contact kind and thoughtful. Although we didn't have a lot to do with rail staff, the little we saw was so encouraging. And we did have one amazing experience which still leaves us speechless when we talk about it. (You like that? .... speechless when we talk about it ....!)
Okay, so I'm not quite speechless, but my jaw was almost hitting the floor when it happened.
On our last day in London, we left our luggage in the Left Luggage at Waterloo Station. As you can imagine, the station, and the left luggage office, was jam-packed. We put in our cases and left the station immediately. We then did some sight-seeing. Around lunchtime, the sun decided to peek out and show its face, and when I went for my sunglasses, I couldn't find them anywhere. I knew I'd had them on the train into Waterloo in the morning, and I knew I'd taken them off when I was handing my case in, but I couldn't think what I had done with them. In the end, I bought a cheap pair at Spittafield Market, and used them the rest of the day. (I simply cannot do without sunglasses if there is any sun.)
That was the day we had our visit to Hummingbirds Cake Shop.
And to Churchill's War Rooms.
Late in the day - during rush hour, actually - we thought we'd make our way back to the station, pick up our cases, and head out to London City Airport. Waterloo Station was teeming. Really teeming! We fought our way through the crowds (this is the best of being all of 5 foot zero - there are many routes on the lower level, through which you can battle). We queued in the Left Luggage, and finally gave our tickets to the two members of staff. One went off for the (large, ahem) cases, and when he came back, he took a look at us and asked, 'Did you lose your sunglasses this morning?'.
Gulp. I could not believe it! He had found my glasses, kept them safe, and then remembered the person who'd lost them!
He had seen hundreds of people that day after all!
We were absolutely gobsmacked. Splutteringly gobsmacked....! But there were my sunglasses, sitting on the desk, awaiting my return.
Mr Left Luggage, I do not know your name, but you deserve Employee of the Month.
~ ~ ~We came across another thoughtful member of staff on the Paris Metro. We had all eaten our (rather rushed) meal, and were heading back to Gare du Nord Station. A waiter recommended the Metro and so we arrived underground with no idea which platform on which we ought to be. I asked a member of staff, and in very broken English, he tried to guide us to the correct platform. We could see he was pointing along the platform on which we were and was then indicating a right turn at some stage.
And so off we went. Down the platform, looking for our right turn - albeit being distracted by our constant blethering! Unbeknown to us, the right-turn was a Y-type, and we walked past it quite unaware that we were heading to Nowhere. Time was of the essence too, and we needed to get back to the Eurostar station jolly quick!
Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder. Here was the Metro worker who'd given me the original instructions. He has seen walk past the entrance, and had run the length of the platform to set us on the right path. This was way above the call of duty, and his kindness allowed us to find the correct train, get to the main station on time, and catch our Eurostar back to London.
Again, I do not know this fellow's name. He didn't know us, and will never see us again - daft bunch of British tourists, who don't even have basic French (guilty as charged, m'lud). I wish I was able to thank him personally for his efforts.
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To many, the little occurrences will seem insignificant but they made such a difference to our stay in the city. It certainly taught me too, that 'insignificant' acts of kindness are not insignificant at all. They can make someone else's day! So, let's all take every opportunity we can to Make the Day for someone - even for a stranger who may cross our paths only this once.
London, for all your busy-ness, you are a wonderful city to visit.