The Proposal Continued…in London
Kelly arrived at Heathrow Airport at 7:30 a.m. after an overnight flight on which she had barely slept. Normally, she would have brought up the Uber app on her phone for a ride, but today was special. Not only was this her first trip to London, but the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel was only blocks away from the train station that seemed like an old friend from her childhood. Kelly was an avid reader and her favorite author was JK Rowling. She had read every Harry Potter novel a half a dozen times over in her lifetime, and not just as a child. She caught the shuttle to Hatton Cross Station and anxiously got on the train through London. Less than an hour later, she arrived at Kings Cross Station, a place she had only seen in her dreams and in her imagination. She gathered her luggage, knowing her next stop. She walked past the coffee and food kiosks, looking for the right platform. She found platform nine and a little way down, she found stenciled in white letters, a sign on a black wall: “Platform 9 ¾.” She took a few pictures and traded taking more with the gathering of tourists. She was amazed at all of the shops and restaurants, and noted that she hadn’t even left the station. Then she headed out of the station to her hotel.
The lobby of St. Pancras was even more spectacular than the pictures she had searched on the internet. After showing her passport and at the front desk, a bellman took her luggage and escorted her to her room on the top floor. She gave him a generous tip and headed to the window and had to catch her breath when she saw that her room overlooked the park.
As promised, she “rang up” Mr. Destiny on the “tellie.” After two rings, his familiar voice came over the phone. He said, “Kelly, it is so good to hear your voice, was your flight ok?”
“It was wonderful,” came her reply.
“Don’t go to sleep, jet lag can be dreadful. The best defense is to stay up until it’s time to go to bed. Since this is your first trip to London, spend the day seeing our city. You will love it. Then, meet me at my shop at 9 a.m. in the morning.”
As soon as she hung up, she pushed the “UBER” button on her phone and arranged for a ride to The Tower of London. The app told her that her driver’s name was Beatrice and she would be driving a white Mercedes. As an avid reader, she knew a Mercedes Uber ride would have been rare in America, but not here.
She got into the back seat and introduced herself to Bea: “I work for tips back home like you and I would like to make a proposition that might be against the rules. Today is my first day in London and I want to see as much of the city as possible.” From the look on Bea’s face Kelley could see she knew what was coming.
Kelly asked, “How much would you charge me to take me for a tour of the city.” A broad smile spread across Bea’s face. “Tell you what. Why don’t you go see the Tower of London for a couple of hours and I’ll take you on the best tour ever, afterwards. As a sister in the world of tipdom, you can just tip me what you think the tour is worth.”
“Deal,” Kelly said, and she took Bea’s phone number.
A couple of hours later Kelly called Bea, who said she was waiting out front.
As promised, Bea took her for the best tour ever including supper at Bea’s favorite neighborhood café.
When Bea dropped her off at the St. Pancras, Kelly put five one hundred-pound notes in her hand. Bea said, “You really are an American,” and insisted she take two of them back.
Kelly got to her room and fell into a deep dreamy sleep.
…to be continued next week…
Related Story (Part 1): The Proposal