I Don’t S’pose You’re Anywhere Near Bolton, Are You?

Do you ever have a completely surreal moment that just hits you out of the blue?

Earlier today my company mobile phone rang, introducing me to a gentleman with a Lancastrian accent wanting to speak with “Richard”. I explained politely that he may have mis-dialled or written down the wrong number.

“Oh, sorry,” he replied, “I don’t suppose you’re anywhere near Bolton, are you?”

Having explained that I was a couple of hundred miles south of there, I asked him why… It turns out that he was trying to get to “Richard” and he was lost. I had him read out the name of the first street sign that he passed and quickly put that into the location field in Google Maps… Then I asked him for the address that he was trying to get to and asked Maps to make a “journey” out of the two addresses.

At this point I was able to begin to offer him a series of directions, complete with verifications from me along the lines of, “You should be passing a Sainsbury’s on your right about now…”

We were making progress and the caller had taken a few turns based on my guidance, when realisation hit him. “‘Ere,” he asked, very suspiciously,”if you’re hundreds of miles south of here and you don’t know Richard, how in the ‘eck are you doing this?”

I told him that I was getting directions from my desktop computer…

That was too much – he didn’t believe that for a second. Then he asked me if I was “the Cops?” Then he thought I might be “CI5” [although I think he meant MI5]. Fortunately, before my interrogation could finish, he finally made it to “Richard” and I bid him a good day and said goodbye.

Made my day, that did.