Tuesday 27 January 2004

How to make friends and influence people

Tourism is just about our biggest industry. It's good to know that our public "service" workers have the right attitude:
The Rev Peter Hadden thought he was being a Good Samaritan by trying to help an American family whose car was being towed away on George Street.

But he was appalled when an Enforcer allegedly told him to "f*** off" and mind his own business. Now the 54-year-old minister, who was not wearing his dog collar at the time of the incident, is preparing to make an official complaint about the Enforcer’s behaviour and swearing.

He said today: "I feel his actions came very close to starting a fight, and he has done this city’s reputation abroad no good at all.


And despite the pay-and-display sticker on the window, Enforcers called for the tow-truck to remove the car.

To make matters worse, the hire car contained their passports and tickets for a flight home that evening.

How very differently things are done elsewhere. About 20 years ago I was driving a rented car along a motorway in Italy. This was at a time when the country was plagued with a series of terrorist bombings. Suddenly, all the traffic was diverted on to a slip road at the end of which was a police checkpoint. These guys did not appear to be your friendly neighbourhood cops: they were heavily armed and roughly ordered each driver to get out for frisking and questioning. An officer yelled at me in Italian. I replied, "Non Italiano, Io Scozzesi", or words to that effect. The cop broke into a large grin and replied, "Aha, Io Napolitano", gave me a big hug and sent me on my way without further ado!

Parking wardens have a difficult job to do but some leeway should be given to tourists, especially those with planes to catch.