So, just returned from the worst European trip in my history. Had to go to Amsterdam for a week of business meetings--my fourth week over there since mid-December. I was excited because my wife and her sister were accompanying me. Always great to have family along. As it turns out, it was a lifesaver.
Arrived Saturday, did a lot of sights over the weekend. Mind you, we managed to be there for the coldest weather in over 20 years. By week's end, the locals were skating on some of the canals. ANYWAY.....things went great until Tuesday night, when we decided to go for a walk. I showed them the 9 Streets area and we checked out the state of the canals for skating. As we were returning, we encountered what looked like a golf cart that the owner decided to park on the sidewalk, almost completely blocking it. I went to step around it, and slipped off the curb. Turned my ankle, and went tumbling onto the street. Long story short--3 broken ribs!!!
A silver lining you say? Yep--while I've been in complete agony ever since, the reaction of the Dutch have been amazing. A complete stranger stopped her car (well, I was lying in the street completely blocking it) and insisted on driving us back to our hotel (DoubleTree Centraal). A resident saw me fall, came running out of his house (no shoes!) and helped me get into the car. Back at the hotel, I was surrounded by at least 6 employees. I knew I was in serious trouble here (yep, I actually felt and heard the snap when I landed), so I opted for an ambulance to the hospital The paramedics were fabulous, carefully explaining everything and my options. Emergency room staff, nurses, doctors were phenomenal. Explained everything, very little waiting, X rays, ultrasound (they were concerned about internal damage), provided meds, prescriptions, and excellent post-instructions....and basically treated me like gold. Would not let me leave until I could walk around for a bit. BTW, a couple of days later, two of the Hilton employees knocked on my hotel room door and handed me a large bag full of goodies and again offered any help I needed.
I think some of the credit for this experience has to do with Rick's "travel as a political act" theme. I could have adopted a "me me me" attitude (seriously, the pain was off the charts), bitched about the inconsiderate person who blocked the sidewalk (other carts were seen, but they were parked in normal parking spots), and generally just been a royal PITA. Instead, nearly every other word out of my mouth was "Thank you" and "please", tried to smile (kinda looked more like gritting my teeth, but I think they understood), and just tried in general to not be a burden. After all, none of this were their fault--they were all being good people offering assistance.
I wish I had gotten the woman driver's name, so I won't be able to adequately thank her. I do plan, however, to let Hilton know about their staff. The pain will eventually fade, but the memories of my treatment are permanently filed in the "good" file.