Picking up any newspaper or watching the television news these days you could be forgiven for thinking that there are very few good people left in the world. But of course that isn't true. There are everyday heroes who are kind and considerate and generous. On Friday I met three of them and they turned my day, which could have been quite stressful, into a really rewarding experience.
My daughter was spending the weekend in Oxford with old friends. On Friday the two of us had planned a visit to the William Blake exhibition at The Ashmolean Museum. We had book tickets online several weeks earlier - or at least we thought that we had! The night before, trawling through my e-mails, I couldn't find the confirmation. I couldn't find any record of payment and I couldn't get through to the ticket office either. The exhibition had only started the previous day so, unsure whether we'd be able to get in, we headed for Oxford with a contingency plan to visit one of the colleges instead.
Oxford is a tricky place to get to from Leicester so we drive to Leamington, 45 minutes away and pick up the train. I left an hour and a half for the car journey but by the time we pulled into the station car park we had little more than five minutes to spare. While my daughter extracted our tickets from the machine I asked the ticket inspector where I could purchase a parking ticket.
"You need to get them from the kiosk these days," he said.
This was not good news. There were probably eight people queuing at the kiosk.
"Our train goes in under five minutes," I said.
"Have you got £4.50 in change," he asked. "If so I can get you a ticket."
Luckily I had.
"Platform 3" he said, waving us through the barrier as I rushed back from placing said ticket in the car. "Run!"
As we tore up the stairs I heard the whistle blow.
"We're not going to make it," I said, to my daughter.
But we did, with literally seconds to spare and all thanks to that ticket inspector. What a wonderful man!
You'd think meeting one hero in a day would be enough but when I got to the Ashmolean and explained that our online booking had mysteriously gone astray the lady said that she was unable to check whether it had gone through but, without any hesitation, offered us complimentary tickets. I was blown away by her kindness. I didn't have to miss William Blake after all and the exhibition is stunning.
My third hero of the day was the waiter in our chosen restaurant who spent ages going through the wheat free options with me so I could have a lovely lunch.
Our day could have turned out so differently but thanks to the kindness of three complete strangers it was made extra special.
Thank you for reading. I hope you meet more than your fair share of everyday heroes this week.