It’s been a busy week on the family front. Last Tuesday, I travelled to London to meet up with Robbie, who was off to LA for several weeks on Wednesday. It’s a funny old thing – while we’re reasonably close as a mother and son, we don’t see each other all that often. But I hate it when he disappears across the Atlantic beyond my reach.
We had planned to get together for my birthday at the end of June, but filming for an episode of Eastenders intervened at the last minute – such is the lot of an actor. What with my teaching commitments and Rob’s own busy schedule, we hadn’t managed to meet up earlier. So I was really looking forward to seeing him before he flew off.
I travelled up to London by train. As arranged, Rob met me at Victoria Station and took me to Mildred’s, a vegetarian restaurant he knew in Lexington Street, while we caught up. I had popped my travel pass in my jacket pocket alongside my phone, instead of sensibly putting it back in my purse, when we first met up. We arrived at Mildred’s a little later than planned because Lexington Street proved to be irritatingly illusive – according to the map we were nearly there three times, when it somehow shifted sideways to be the next turning along.
Finally we wound up at the restaurant a little after the main lunchtime rush, so there was plenty of room. I showed Rob my new phone as I enthused about several apps I’d recently acquired, while waiting for our food. We keep in touch online with Skype, Whatsapp and texts – but nothing beats a good old natter face to face…
The staff were friendly and approachable, the service prompt, the food delicious and we weren’t hassled to leave as soon as we’d finished eating. By any standards, it was an excellent meal and all too quickly our time together was drawing to an end. Robbie walked me back to Victoria, we said good-bye and I made my way to Gate 15 to hop on a train home. To find my travel pass gone. I searched my pockets… my purse… my bag. It was nowhere.
I eventually arrived home significantly later than planned, feeling a tad sick that I’d lost my pass and phoned the restaurant, more in hope than expectation, speculating that it might have fallen out of my pocket when I’d shown off my phone. But it was right in the middle of the evening rush, and I was asked if I wouldn’t mind ringing the following day when it would be quieter and the staff that served us would be working.
Next morning, I spoke to Anna who was very sympathetic and promised to ring me back to let me know whether they’d found it or not. I wasn’t expecting her to be on the phone five minutes later, when it rang. Nor was I expecting her to sound so delighted that they’d found my pass and I certainly wasn’t expecting her to promise to put it in an envelope and post it first class the same day. But that’s what she did – so it was back in my hands on Thursday afternoon.
It is clearly a busy, successful restaurant. As somone who doesn’t live or work in London, I’m not a regular customer and never will be. There was absolutely nothing to be gained by being so very helpful and kind – and yet, they were. Often social media is used, rightly, to warn prospective customers of shoddy, unsatisfactory work and offhand, rude service. I’m here to do the opposite. Mildred’s is worth a visit if you want reasonably priced, well cooked food – and just as importantly, they really care about their customers.