A Cinderella Travel Moment, by Carolyn Pearson

Have you ever spotted a single shoe in the most peculiar of places, wondered how it got there and then gone on to make up a whole romantic story in your head?photo

I know I have, but let me tell you, on this occasion, the scenario was far from romantic.

On a recent trip from London to Leeds, as the train glided out of the platform I settled contentedly into the comfy seat and texted my husband to let him know that the train had departed on time. I was sat at a table along with three other sociable business women and we soon got chatting. Fifteen minutes later and following a few somewhat ‘jerky’ movements, the train guard declared that the train was broken and that we would limp into the nearest station and be collected by the next train coming up the line.

At rush hour, when seats are limited, this is the last thing you want to hear. Two sets of train passengers ‘blending’ into one meant the prospect of standing for the next two hours. We disembarked at the next station, hundreds of passengers piling on to the platform at the little station, squashing in together panicking that there might not be room for all of us. Our little group stayed together discussing the merits of positive thinking and willed the train to stop with the door in front of us. It worked! As if by a miracle the train pulled in and the doors opened to welcome us aboard. As I embarked, jubilant that I may even get a seat, I looked back at the crowd of people pushing to get on behind me. Then it happened, somebody clipped the back of my shoe. As I looked down, my favourite, comfortable and faithful (and the one that gets all the compliments), leopard print ballet flat lay forlornly on the track. You know the types of shoes I mean, the ones that money can’t buy, the ones that you can wear all day at an exhibition and feels more like a slipper.


In that moment I had to make a snap decision, make a fuss and try and get my shoe retrieved or embark nonchalantly with just one shoe and not be yelled at by hundreds of desperate passengers. I chose the latter. Luckily we were packed in so tightly that nobody really noticed, until I shared my dilemma with my seat-mates who responded in dismay. Within minutes the entire carriage knew about my missing shoe, and I was overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity extended to me, with complete strangers offering to lend me their shoes. Luckily I happened to have a pair of fold-up Tieks in my handbag so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But despite my twitter campaign of #savemyshoe, we were sadly never reunited.

So ladies, next time you hear “mind the gap”, I’d encourage you to take heed.

Carolyn headshot6

Carolyn Pearson, Founder of Maiden-Voyage.com


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