My habitual pre Christmas visit to Scotland is primarily to stock up on books, which are available in Spain in English but prohibitively expensive, and items for Christmas which are hard to find in Catalonia. So it seemed prudent to pre book a 20kg bag on Ryanair at the not inconsiderable cost of £20 per leg of my journey.
10 happy shopping days later which involved waiting around for Citylink to deliver my Amazon order, (Five days for a so called next day delivery), Hours spent in Waterstones and the absolute paradise that is Waitrose (compared to Spain even the Co-op is paradise) I packed 15 books, two kilos of mincemeat, packets of suet, shortbread, oatcakes, tea bags, tomato puree, stem ginger, smoked mackerel, Stilton and Christmas crackers and groaned at the sheer weight.
As Ryanair has decided to cease flying to Gerona from Edinburgh, I humped and puffed my way from Haymarket to Prestwick, braving icy winds in Edinburgh, Kent, the overweight and surly tea trolley operative, to whom every customer is a pest on the Glasgow train. Traipsed from Queen St to Central dodging the open sewers that Glasgow streets become after a shower of rain and missed the train to Ayr by three minutes. Arriving in Prestwick, my humour not the sunniest, I was greeted by that initial delight of the frequent flyer, the bag drop. Inching my way forward as various examples of scottish educations brighter failures were giving the check in operator ripe examples of humour and invective, I finally arrived at the desk, put on my best smile and levering my toe under my bag attempted to lighten the load. The lady clerk, for sure she was a lady, went through the litany, is this your bag , did you pack it yourself, etc, etc. In my usual attempts at distraction I gabbled about the weather, asked if the flight was full, said how cold it was for her sitting in that awful draught and she handed me my luggage tag and then just as I was turning away the dreaded words came.
" I am afraid that you are 2 kilos over your bag weight, Sir, and Ryanair will charge you £40 today"
In one of those drawn out pockets in time when rash words can lead to outbursts of temper she paused, looked at me and smiled.
I don't know how many emotions were in that smile, regret, sympathy, apology, understanding and empathy all rolled up together, but what ever was there did the trick.
"Never mind" I said " my own fault, not much I can do now"
I paid my £40, collected my boarding pass, and went through to departure. Not exactly a happy camper, but totally disarmed and calm. I don't know who you are, I didn't even get your name, however you brought much credit to Servisair and Ryanair. I don't know if it is training or whether you are a natural but that smile did more to enhance this travellers day than you can imagine, even if it did cost me an arm and a leg.