FYSAE Blog: A Kind Guard and a Private Tour of Westminster Abbey

By schwartzsa | February 11, 2011

Danielle Leon ’14, a participant in Arcadia’s First Year Study Abroad Experience, is finding that a little kindness goes a long way in London, England. In her latest blog entry, she describes the “best day ever.” Trying to save the 16-pound entrance fee, Leon and her friends viewed Westminster Abbey from the gates. Their willingness to interact with the locals gained them entrance and a private tour inside the famous cathedral.

“Our wandering led us into this college square thing that’s right next to the Abbey. We decided to walk around and probably head home after that. Of course that didn’t go according to plan but in the best way possible.  There’s a side entrance to the Abbey that’s meant for employees and tour groups. At the front of it was this awesome elderly man named Marten Howells.  He was so sweet and funny and just a great guy. We talked to him for a good half hour about living in London and schooling and baking. At one point…he told us about his daughters going to school and living away from home and paying for college and what not. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him and thankfully I didn’t have to. Before that thought could cross our minds he said, ‘Tell you what, I’m going to let you go into the Abbey for free.’

“Turns out it was his break, and he was going to give us a private tour for free of the main part of the Abbey. We were in such a state of shock all we could do was babble like idiots of our thankfulness. It was the best thing ever! Oh my god! It was so beautiful I cried! And he took us to the restricted roped off sections of the abbey, too! Oh my! It was ack! So fantastic! I still can’t get over it!”

Read more about Leon’s life in London.