The story that appeared in several British and Spanish newspapers last week about the English woman who complained about there being too many Spaniards enjoying themselves in her Benidorm hotel really does beggar belief.
I had to read it twice before I actually believed that it was a genuine story, and to cap it all the lady in question, Freda Jackson, received almost £600 in compensation from tour operator Thomas Cook.
Needless to say the story attracted a great deal of attention on social media with many Spaniards venting their anger at the 81 year old.
Even the Orihuela Councillor for Tourism, Sofia Alvarez, expressed her disgust at the story, writing “From my position as Councillor of tourism and international residents of Orihuela I am in complete disbelief. I respect the elderly greatly but is this the Tourism we want for our Country, Spain”?
Personally I thought that her remarks were quite restrained. I have no doubt that if a foreign resident made the same sort of statement about Britons using London hotels the expletives would not be too far away.
There were one or two who went over the top in their comments of course, but that is only to be expected. Juan Martinez Redondo wrote “Lady, stay in your own country. The English are the most drunk in Europe, the biggest crooks, the most open with sex, and the most foolish but when coming to Spain to have surgery they are the smartest, because here they are operated for free while in England they are charged.”
Well you got most of it right Juan but you might want to do a little more research with the medical thing!
Of course there is always rather more to the story and we must remember that the newspapers are far more interested in sensationalising a story than actually telling the truth.
Mrs Jackson had booked a stay with a friend at Poseidón Playa, located on the outskirts of Benidorm. She says that the agency Thomas Cook recommended the hotel and assured her that as someone with mobility problems she would not have to worry about access. On arrival the pair were given a room on the 14th floor. They explained that they both suffered from mobility problems so the pair were quickly moved to the 2nd floor “But we still had to traverse 42 steps down to the hotel pool” she said, “so swimming or relaxing by the side of the pool was a daily chore.”
And her complaints didn’t end there. She was unhappy about the number of Spaniards in the hotel. She even complained that the entertainment was geared toward them. “It was one disaster after another,” she added.
When I made contact with the tour operator they sent me the same statement that they had made to every other journalist that had asked for a quote.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “Due to a system error Ms Jackson was not informed of a change to her flights until six days before departure. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this caused and are investigating to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We have offered Ms Jackson and her travel companion a gesture of goodwill to try and put things right which we hope she will accept.”
One social media post by Nestor said “This lady will be one of the very few who had a bad time in Spain! The English come to have fun! I think that this lady doesn’t live happily even in England!”
Nestor I think you are probably absolutely right.