Saturday, 17 August 2013

Friday in London

So my first bit isn't really about "staff" but just a nice smile and I think, since it is my blog, I'm allowed to include it.  
After my yuchy West End experience earlier in the week, I had a nice one yesterday; met with a lovely German producer that I'd been corresponding with for years but never had a chance to meet before, at a cute coffee bar just off Carnaby Street in Lowndes Court, Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar. 

We got a great table outside where we could watch the world go by but away from hustle and bustle of Carnaby Street.  Of course the problem, or the upside, of sitting outside in the West End is that you are likely to be approached by various people wanting money, selling stuff, or just some eccentrics.

Yesterday,we were duly approached by this guy asking for money for food.  As I often do, if possible, I won't give money but I will buy food.  I asked him if he would like something to eat and he said yes so I suggested he just go inside the cafe and choose what he want on me.  I turned to look through the window and "authorise" this purchase and was very heartened to see that he was being served with all courtesy by the staff and not as if he was a "smelly tramp".     He chose an apple muffin and I was rewarded with the warmest, biggest smile from him so I felt on top of the world (for such small effort).

Then, my lovely German producer talked about the karma of the event and insisted on picking up the tab for everything thereby converting the karma to his.  It was a real win win situation.  

The smile really was a special one.  

Later on we met some friends from Dulwich at the Holly Bush in Hampstead, (our local).  Our Dulwich friends smoke so we wanted to stay outside.  Because of the licensing rules with the local neighbours, one must stay within the lines of the pub area if one is to drink so our only option was to stand near the tables as all the seats were taken.  

We didn't stand for long.  Nuno, a waiter there, (a waiter in a pub?), asked us if we would like some stools.  Errr.... yes, please.  He immediately rushed to get us four with a lovely smile. (the smile was on him not the stools in case there is any confusion).

Nuno is from Porto and even when one customer "cut up a bit rough" later, (more below), he never lost his sense of humour or equanimity.  So Nuno, thank you for your service with a smile and have a thumbs up from us.

So.... we sat down, we started chatting, and couldn't help noticing a gentleman in a small group beside us, kept necking some red wine from his own bottle inside a bag. 

He looked like a respectable sixties something Hampstead type until I caught his eye and he gave me a very loud "what" that made me think everything was not quite as it should be.

Our gentleman got up to go inside and Nuno stopped him in the doorway.  We thought this was because of the drinking of his own wine, but it turned out that he was barred.  This gentleman who was quite a bit bigger than Nuno, became very aggressive towards him.  Nuno stood his ground, politely.

Then John, the Door Supervisor, (never call him a bouncer or security guard, he doesn't like it!), came out to deal with him.  He reminded this gentleman that he was barred and after a few choice words from the "gentleman", he started to leave with his pint glass.  John asked him for it and when it wasn't handed to him, he took it.  The gentleman then kicked up a fuss about he paid £5.00 for that so John, got the barman to come out, give this gentleman £5.00 and asked him so politely to go and not darken their door again as they didn't want to call the police on him but he had been barred several times.

Now John is a laugh.  He says I remind him of his (favourite) form teacher, Mrs. Beardsley, but I had never seen him actually have to "deal" with someone before.    I have to say, like Nuno, he remained polite but in John's case, there was no mistaking that he was serious and you did not want to mess with him. 

So again, a thank you and a thumbs up from us for doing your job with a smile.

It was a great day of street drama in London.  Just what I love.

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