A Reason to Take a Business Card

During last year’s adventure, Mike and I prudently decided to take a rest day after we survived a mountain-top hurricane. With our B&B hostess’ guidance, we boarded a bus from Patterdale to Penrith where we would find a lift to Shap and from there resume our journey the next morning. Once in Penrith, and again with our landlady’s recommendation in mind, we found our way to the train station and a taxi queue. But we happened to arrive during one of those recurring British celebrations of workers’ power, the railway strike,  and there were no cabs to be found. But it was our good fortune that the absence of trains idled the two uniformed gentlemen who minded the station and they had time and the courtesy to use their own phone to summon a taxi which arrived to collect us and our things within a few minutes.

The cab was operated by a dark-haired man of about 40 years named Damien Quail who engaged us in conversation for the 30-minute ride. It turned out that he and Mike had important common history.  Both of them had served in the military in Afghanistan about which they shared stories. With that discovery, Damien became even more helpful, pointing out interesting landmarks along the way, recommending England’s best fish and chips, bar none, which happened to be available at the “Shap Chippy” and guiding us to the front gate of Brookfield House, our quarters for the night. Once he had unloaded our baggage onto the sidewalk, Damien gave me his business card and insisted that if either of us ever needed a lift again to be sure to call him.

That card has remained among my travel documents since that day. Today I retrieved it from its folder and found the website for A1 Acclaim Taxis, Damien’s business moniker. From there I sent an email asking if we could count on him for a ride next Monday from the train depot in Penrith to our hotel in Orton. His reply arrived within an hour with a promise to meet us upon our arrival at noon. And he claimed to recall our first meeting last September 30.  Perhaps that was just jabber on his part but I prefer to believe him and I’m happy that our one remaining travel detail is locked in.

Lessons learned:  hang on to those random business cards. They may be useful when you least expect. And in business, be courteous and friendly and reap rewards.