by Phil Thomas
A day trip to Paris turns into a tourist's nightmare.
|He’s always dreamed of seeing London and Paris. With the help of credit card debt, and a hefty tax refund; he's prepared for a four day trip. He’s spends a day in Paris via high speed rail; something you’d never find in the U.S.A.
Traveling alone as he always did; the first train left London at 7am Before boarding, he takes out sixty euros; a smart move.
Arriving in Paris, he gets his wallet out. 10:30 am, time to sit at a quaint Parisian cafe, get coffee, plan the day; but the ATM card is missing! There’s a hole in the pocket where the card must’ve slipped out that morning. He tries his cell phone; no signal. Now he starts to sweat. Alone in Paris with little money, no phone service and a tenuous grasp of French.
Steadying himself, panic is his enemy, his brain races for a solution. Calm, breath, think; cyber-café! He buys computer time to freeze the lost card, but the keyboard‘s in French. Keys don’t match what he’s typing. He pecks slowly until he stops the card; can it get any worse?
Wait! He remembers the paycheck's direct deposit posts on another card. No, this can’t be real! Several ATMs produce the same results. In French, the same error message, “no funds available”. He’s now tired, exhausted with only a return ticket to London boarding at 8 p.m. It’s now 4 pm.
He makes one last desperate ATM attempt. Money is in the account! This long Parisian nightmare is over. He was never so happy to leave a place in his life! In London, he breathes a sigh of relief. Just a few hours’ sleep; time to fly back to California.
To this day, thoughts of Paris send him into cold sweats.