Tuesday, April 14, 2009

London Calling (and a Theft.)

I will be in London for the Bookfair next week and if you are also there please let me know and we can get together. For those interested I can expand on what we are doing at Mywire.com.

For now a little LBF story.

Several fairs ago, I was returning to our booth, which was on the upstairs balcony at Olympia from a meeting and I noticed two individuals walking behind the row of publisher stands. This immediately struck me as odd and I even said to the person I was with. "I wonder what those guys are doing". Ordinarily our booth was closed at the back however, one of our senior executives (we'll call him CH) had been horsing around and had pushed one of the panels out of the back wall of the stand. As a result, our storage area was completely open.

As I continued towards the stand, I saw one of the guys come from behind our booth with a shopping bag which he had not had with him before. Smelling a fish, I moved towards him and started following him down the long stairway that joined the balcony with the main floor. The gent was now alone as his friend had gone off in another direction. As I came up next to him I looked in the bag he was carrying and there was a handbag. So I said to him, "that's a lovely handbag is it yours? I don't think he understood English but he did realize he needed to make a run for it. So he took off down the stairs with me in pursuit through the main floor of the fair towards the back. He dropped the shopping bag mid-way which I grabbed and continued to follow him. I was of two minds about stopping him; I was very worried he had a knife (and I have some experience in that area) so I let him escape out the back door.

As I was running through Olympia in pursuit, people politely stepped out of our way which I thought was quite gracious. But no one offered to help nor did anyone ask me what the fuss was about. When I got back to the stand, our staff were in some agitation. Apparently, someone had lost their handbag with their wallet, passport, house keys and probably some make-up, so I calmly returned the bag to an eternally grateful Canadian.
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mamagalen said...

You're a hero! Great story!!!

COS Productions said...

I love this story! Way to be a hero!!

Anonymous said...

I am the referred to CH/senior executive in the story. It was indeed a heroic act to spot and retrieve the stolen goods. It was quite dramatic on the Bowker end because as one person realized that her purse was gone, others checked back into the storage and realized that they too had been robbed, which set the stage for the dramatic rescue. One correction, however. I wasn't fooling around when I fell through the back of the booth- while balancing precariously to avoid stepping on stored briefcases and purses while retrieving my own briefcase, I lost my balance and fell backwards and through the back of the booth! It caused quite a commotion and I was quickly discovered on my back behind the booth after plunging through the back panel- this had slipped from my memory until someone emailed me this link today to ask if I was the CH in the story!