If you ask any one of the six of us what some of our favorite moments were from our European trip, I guarantee we’d all say that one would have been … Tom. This is our London experience, a special story we’ll never forget ~ our Tom story.
We had gone from our 3 days in Paris, to visit London for an even shorter 2 days. (Check out our Multi City Travel post here.) We had arrived midmorning after a Eurostar train ride, and we hit the ground running … okay not really, but we were trying to make the most of our time. That afternoon we were headed to Covent Garden, walking, and our 3 year old crashed.
This little dude was amazing on this trip. I mean, he’s 3, and we didn’t take a stroller because we know how good and how tough he is. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s 12 like his big brother. We had been walking about 10 miles every day, and he handled most of it like a champ! He is still a toddler, however; so there were some moments when he would without warning just collapse on the ground saying, “I can’t walk.”
During one of these I-can’t-walk resting moments, an older gentleman, an Englishman, comes up and asks us if we speak English and if we need any help finding our way. Josh told him we were headed to Covent Garden, and the gentleman pulls out a folded up map and starts showing Josh the best way, which so happened to be a way not many people knew of through a beautiful little ally. What I thought was going to be just a nice moment with a stranger turned into so much more because Tom decided that he would take us himself.
Tom showed us the way to Covent Garden, stopping us a couple times along the way for good places to take pictures. Then he wanted to show us this pub. He walks in and talks to the people working there as if he owned the place, gave us a tour, and had us take a family photo.
Then Tom wanted to show us a beautiful store he thought I would like, then where a string quartet was playing in a courtyard, then a church tucked away in a garden that he said – “no one realizes they can come back here.”
He kept saying that he would show us just one more thing … well, we ended up staying with Tom seeing “one more thing” for 2 hours!
We got recommendations from Tom for even more places to come back and check out later (which we did the next day!) such as a toy store, restaurants, places to get afternoon tea or hot chocolate. I wonder how long we would have ended up staying with Tom had we not had reservations for afternoon tea that day. He said that he was somewhat of a time expert and that he would make sure we got there on time. It shouldn’t have surprised me when he even escorted us to the Tube to make sure we were headed in the right direction. My oldest son was so shocked and impressed that Tom paid to get into the underground station to take us directly to the train, but then went back on his way with a “cheerio.”
I don’t know if he realized the impact he had on our day or on us as a family. He was/is such an inspiration to show kindness … to take time for people, people you don’t even know …
Tom said that he’s lived in London for 40 years and he likes “to take nice people to see beautiful things.” What a special London experience to meet Tom and get to see some of his favorite things from his home-city. Every place he took us he’d ask, “Do you like it?” We did. We liked every single bit of it. Thank you Tom for a special story we’ll never forget.