Skip to content

A chance meeting

I had three days of off-site customer meetings last week, so was staying at a hotel two hours away from home, a few miles from the customer’s site. Not at Fawlty Towers, for once, as this was a different customer in a different county, but the hotel was only marginally better. The service at dinner on Monday night was particularly poor. I’d only ordered a burger and chips and half a pint of cider, but it was taking forever to arrive. And it wasn’t as if the hotel restaurant was particularly busy. There were no large parties, just a few business people scattered around, mostly on tables for one, and all with their heads in their iPads, as indeed was I. I absolutely hate having dinner in restaurants on my own, but ordering room service really feels like wimping out, so surfing on an iPad over dinner is a reasonable compromise.

Anyway, after 25 minutes of surfing, with no sign of my dinner, and having watched several people who ordered after me be served first, I beckoned the waitress over. In perhaps an unnecessarily loud voice, I asked how much longer my meal would be, and politely but firmly requested that she brought me the glass of cider I’d ordered so that I at least had something to drink while I waited. At that point a diner at the far end of the restaurant suddenly sat up sharply, peered at me, then came over. “Gillian! I thought it was you! I recognised the voice!” He was an ex-colleague of mine from work who was made redundant shortly after Chris died, and whom I occasionally bump into in Waitrose. I invited him to join me at my table, and we both put our iPads to one side and had a long and enjoyable catch-up. He’s now working part-time as a consultant for exactly the same customers as he was before, but only taking on jobs he finds particularly interesting, and has a much better work-life balance than before. He certainly looked much happier than I remember him looking!

It’s a small world!