Well, too bad I didn't take her name.
It was Heathrow Terminal Three, late on a Monday night and I'd just got off a seven hour flight and along with many other weary people was dragging my handluggage from the Air Canada gate, which is invariably the furthest away in the terminal, to get to Immigration. I always expect this long hike, up hill and down dale but this time it was worse than usual. I got to the escalator and it wasn't working. The elderly couple in front of me didn't fancy toting their bags up a steep flight of stairs and neither did I. Suddenly one of them said, "Oh look!" And there, sure enough, was a lift. We made for it, only to be stopped by Ms Jobsworth in all her glory - uniform, badges, probably clipboard as well, though in the heat of the moment I didn't notice. "That lift", she said in the sort of voice only that sort of British woman has, "Is only for wheelchairs." Well let me say, first off, that there wasn't a wheelchair in sight and if a wheelchair user had happened along, I would be the first to say, "After you." But that wasn't the case. So I said to her, "The escalator isn't working," She sniffed like a sarcastic games mistress trying to talk to the class idiot, "Sorry, no. This lift is only for wheelchairs."
I wasn't giving in, " I've got an injured shoulder (true, alas); these people are elderly. We are taking this lift." And I got into the lift.
"Well make sure you send it right back," she grumbled. (Where did she think I was going to send it? Outer Space?) Then I heard her say, "You shouldn't have so much handluggage." (Isn't she aware that the airlines now make you pay through the nose to check bags and that is why everyone travels with so much handluggage? Of course she is.) At that point I nearly lost it, "I just told you, I hurt my shoulder!" She glared at me - all school playground again, "I wasn't talking to YOU!" And through the closing lift doors, I saw the poor elderly couple, who had by now been totally intimidated, starting a sort of relay with their wheelie bags up the steep stairs. And that was their welcome to Britain. Bye Bye Olympic Spirit. The Flying Turkey Travel Award goes to you, Ma'am, as the Americans would say.