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Stranded in Stortford: Kindness of 'blonde guardian angel in a Mercedes' meant passenger could fly home to his family



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A train passenger who was stranded in Bishop's Stortford as he made his way home to Sweden from Stansted Airport has written to the Indie in praise of the "guardian angel" whose kindness meant he was able to see his wife and children sooner.

Alex Gale, 39, who runs his own delivery business in Gothenburg, was among hundreds of travellers en route to the airport whose trains terminated at Stortford on bank holiday Monday evening (August 26) as a result of a track defect in the Stansted Mountfitchet area.

In the absence of immediate rail replacement buses from train operator Greater Anglia, passengers desperate not to miss their flights swarmed into taxis and onto scheduled buses.

Alex's wife Linda with children Charlie, 6, and Matilda, 5 (16048930)
Alex's wife Linda with children Charlie, 6, and Matilda, 5 (16048930)

Alex, who had been visiting friends, said that "things were getting a bit Wild West", with some people trying to hitch lifts from passing motorists, while one person even went into the Rose and Crown pub in Station Road and offered £100 to be driven to the airport.

He said: "People were flagging down locals, fighting over cabs and offering huge sums of money to get them to the airport on time. One crafty fellow had decamped from the pub and was marshalling his mates' cars at £80 a pop."

By sheer chance, Alex, who has lived in Sweden for 12 years, bumped into his niece Frida, 20, and her boyfriend Zack, who had been to the Leeds music festival and were heading home to Sweden on the same flight as him.

Stansted Airport-bound train passengers queueing for lifts in Adderley Road in Stortford (16049372)
Stansted Airport-bound train passengers queueing for lifts in Adderley Road in Stortford (16049372)

Unable to get a taxi or a bus, Alex had all but given up hope of getting home in time to see his Swedish wife Linda, 38, and their children Charlie, 6, and Matilda, 5, when their "guardian angel" showed up.

He said: "This amazing lady (with blonde hair and driving a Mercedes) had seen the chaos on Facebook and decided to head into town with the sole intention of helping some people get to the airport on time.

"She wouldn't accept a penny from us in return and her help meant that we were able to get on the flight so that I could get home to see my children and my niece could celebrate her birthday with her family."

Alex and the woman did not exchange names so he had no way to thank her personally, so he emailed the Indie.

He said: "I know just how lucky we were and that many others weren't so blessed, but I just wanted to say a thank you again to the kindest lady in Bishop's Stortford."

This is Alex's email to the Indie in full...

Like hundreds, or possibly thousands, of others, I was dumped fairly unceremoniously in Bishop's Stortford on bank holiday Monday by the complete failure of the Stansted Express train.

But, unlike the many who no doubt missed their flights, I was able to make it to the airport in time thanks to the kindness and generosity of one local resident.

Train after train-load of us were discharged onto the platform and simply told to queue for a cab or get a local bus. No cabs were getting through to the station because, it turned out, in the town things were getting a bit Wild West.

People were flagging down locals, fighting over cabs and offering huge sums of money to get them to the airport on time (one crafty fellow had decamped from the pub and was marshalling his mates' cars at £80 a pop).

I'd more or less given up any hope of getting home to my Swedish wife and small kids in Gothenburg when I bumped quite by chance into my niece and her friend, who'd been at the Leeds Festival and were going home on the same plane as me.

With the naivety of youth, they seemed to think that they'd be able to sort things out and get home in time for her birthday with an Uber. Surprisingly they couldn't. But our spirits were lifted when not one but two local buses drove into view and pulled up at the stop outside Wetherspoon's Port Jackson pub.

They were dashed almost immediately when we saw that they were completely full and certainly couldn't take the hundred or so people ahead of us in the queue, let alone us.

At which point our guardian angel showed up.

We didn't even exchange names so I have no way to thank her personally, but this amazing lady (with blonde hair and driving a Mercedes) had seen the chaos on Facebook and decided to head into town with the sole intention of helping some people get to the airport on time.

She wouldn't accept a penny from us in return and her help meant that we were able to get on the flight so that I could get home to see my children and my niece could celebrate her birthday with her family.

I know just how lucky we were and that many others weren't so blessed, but I just wanted to say a thank you again to the kindest lady in Bishop's Stortford. You restored my faith in people after the Stansted Express had done so much to crush it. Thank you.

Alex, Frida and Zack

Gothenburg, Sweden



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