Yesterday a friend reminded me of a story I’ve been telling for years, but not yet on this blog, I think; about an incident at O’Hare Airport in Chicago some time ago, when I came off a plane, only to trip over a kerb in the tunnel you walk through to disembark, and hurt my ankle. I writhed there in agony.
Immediately an Airport employee came running up to me. Her first question was: ‘Can I get you a lawyer?’ Only afterwards did she offer to call a doctor. – ‘OK’, I thought. ‘I must be in America’.
I turned down her offer of a lawyer: ‘My own silly fault’, I said. ‘I should have looked where I was going.’ She looked surprised and relieved. The ankle turned out to be broken (it still gives me arthritic pain), and had to be set and plastered; which gave me some interesting experience (mainly good) of American hospitals, and a talking point at the conference I was attending, now on crutches. Everyone there said I should have sued the airport. ‘You could have won a million dollars.’ I was just grateful for the free treatment (on my travel insurance). But then, I’m British.
Some people don’t believe that. But I swear it’s true.