Monday, 21 March 2016

Special Branch comes to my rescue

I had a genuine emergency last week at Gatwick airport. It was all there; shortness of breath, perspiration, panic, chest pain.
The works.
The cause of it?
I had left my electronic tablet in the main lounge at Gatwick.
Normally of course, this emergency could have been handled with calm efficient ease, reporting it to the relevant authorities etc. However, in this particular situation, time was very much against me.

I am not normally one of those people who arrive at the departure gate with hours to spare. I have always thought this is a total waste of human life hours and anyone who indulges in this practice should be given a severe talking to. However, last Monday before a flight to Madeira, I did just that. I thought to myself, I have nothing much else to do here, so I might as well saunter slowly along the three miles to gate 35 surely, the furthest gate in airport history.

Having finally arrived I reach for my tablet to watch a movie while I'm waiting, only to find it's not there and I must have left it on a seat in the main lounge. So much for sauntering. Now I am running all the way back to try and find it. Along the way, I bump in to Steve, wearing a smart suit and an earpiece. He looks like a security person I think to myself.

"Excuse me, are you security?"
"No sir, I am Sussex Please Special Branch."
"OK near enough" I say. " I have left my tablet in the lounge and I only have 30 minutes before my plane leaves."
"Right then" Says Steve "we need to find it pronto"
And just like that we are both on a mission.

We get to the scene of the crime and not a sign of my lost tablet. we interview potential witnesses, shop managers and restaurant staff but to no avail.

I'm out of time, so I leave my details with Steve who promises to check with Lost Property and hopefully "you might get lucky and pick it up when you return"

Of course, now I am late for the gate and run all the way back by which time my name is being called as all the passengers are on the plane.

As I get to the now empty gate my phone rings. "Andy, it's Steve. I've found it! I'm on my way to you now"

Amazing. Unfortunately the gate staff are having none of it. "You must board the plane now sir. It will not wait."

"You don't understand" I plead. "This is an emergency situation and I am waiting for a delivery"
As they shake their heads and threaten to boot me off the flight, Steve arrives like the cavalry waving my tablet triumphantly.

What a guy.

My eternal thanks go out to this gentleman who without doubt saved my day. Sussex Police, you are some team and I thanks you from the bottom of my heart!