take me back to dear ol’ blighty pt. 3

(the story so far. after a tiring 14 hour flight into london, i accidentally got on to the wrong bus and found myself stranded at a highway service station in the middle of nowhere. in my most desperate hour i find my nameless guardian angel. this is the last installment. the first and second can be had by clicking on the links.)

neglecting his other duties, he sat down and listened to my whole saga. he then gave me a few options. i could spend the money and get to london and then fork out another fortune on some overpriced motel seeing that the bus to nottingham had long departed. the other cheaper and more sensible option was to put up in a travelodge just behind the station and early next morning make arrangement for the bus company to pick me up from the nearest assigned bus station in a small nearby town called chippenham (the name is so typically british that i laugh whenever i think about it). the taxi fare from the travelodge to chippenham would only cost me about 10 pounds. there was just no way around it and i agreed.

he then accompanied me to the travelodge and introduced me to another gem of a human being. she was a woman in her fifties who was manning the reception at the small motel that night. she listened to my story and they both agreed that the bus company was not being very straight with me. she then of her own volition picked up the phone and called the hotline that i have tried earlier and retold my story to the operator. it was already midnight by that time and the operator concluded that the bus was not coming tonight. she suggested to the receptionist that i should write in to their hq after all this is over to ask for reimbursement for my motel stay and taxi ride tomorrow morning. she also said that even though i was late by a day my ticket to nottingham was still valid and i did not need buy a new ticket from chippenham to london.

by now only half my brain was working and i gladly took the keys from the nice lady and checked into my room. with all the adrenaline surging in my blood from the night’s adventure i found it difficult to really sleep but it felt good just to rest my head on something soft in a horizontal position sans snoring britons. the next morning i rose early and called my friend to tell him what had transpired. he couldn’t believe his ears and i nodded sheepishly in agreement.

after a quick breakfast at the deli (the nice young man had already clocked out) the motel called a cab for me and i drove into chippenham. at the bus station, the bus was again late but this time i had other grumbling passengers with me and it was a pleasant albeit cold morning. i fell into conversation with some fellow passengers while waiting. i was too embarrassed by the days’ event and cooked up some story about visitng a friend in chippenham. it was not common to see an oriental type in this sleepy hamlet and their curiosity was piqued. before it became only proper for me to tell the truth, the bus arrived. after another bout of explanation to this driver i was allowed to board and after another 3 hours or so i found myself in london.

i got the date of my ticket to nottingham changed and finally arrived at my destination. the sight of my friend nearly brought a tear to my eye and he zipped me home as fast as traffic permitted. his wife cooked up a storm that night and i finally got a decent night ‘s rest after a 24 hour delay.

returning home a few weeks later, i wrote the bus company a lengthy letter regarding my mishap and after 2 weeks they emailed me to apologize and credited GBP 58.30 to my credit card. i sincerely hope that this will be read by the night manager and the receptionist. they are shining examples of decency and all that is good in humanity. they restore my faith in mankind.


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