Trip to England

Travel Story

Jan 1, 1969



I even had the opportunity to go to England for a two week period that was not directly related to Stetson’s admissions. It was indirectly related. I had gone to an admissions association national meeting. Most associations had display tables and businesses that are somewhat related to what you do. I was at one of the tables, and I had happened to fill out a card at a travel service booth. I was hoping that they would send me some tips on hotels and prices and things like that. About two weeks later I get a phone call while I was getting dressed to go to work at about 8:30 in the morning. The woman on the line says, “Are you Gary Meadows with Stetson University?” and I said, “That’s correct.” She asked if I remembered being at the conference some months ago, and I said, “Yes.” She said, “Do you remember filling out a card at a booth?” and I said, “Yes,” and she said, “Well congratulations Mr. Meadows. You won a two weeks all expenses paid trip to London England.”

One of my favorite stories and I have told this so many times to my friends and relatives. I had rented a car. I told my boss, the president of Stetson, that if you give me these two weeks, I’ll visit some schools in the London area. I created an itinerary and had about 5-6 schools, and the last school I visited was about 30 miles north of London. My gas gauge was struggling, and I got lost trying to get back, because in London at that time in the year it had gotten dark about 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and I had finished my last school at about 3 o’clock. I started driving back in the dark and I lost my way. I pulled over and pulled out the map and, unlike the United States at that time, in London there weren’t street signs everywhere. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where I was. I look over at the gas gage, and it was still struggling, so I turned off the ignition and thought, “What in the world am I going to do?” So I am just going to sit right here. Darkness is falling. I’ll sleep in the car. I didn’t have a school the next day and when the sun light comes up I’ll try to find a bobby or services station and find my way back to the hotel. I was half asleep in the car by the side of the road, and all of a sudden, there was a knock on the side of my window. It’s a bobby, so I rolled down the widow and said, “Yes sir?” He said, “Old chap, why are you parked here?” I said, “It’s because I’m about out of petrol, and I’ve lost my way.” So he started laughing, and he realized I wasn’t British right off the bat, and he said, “Where are you from, old boy?” I said, “Well I’m from Stetson University in Deland Florida.” “WHAT?” After we laughed for a while, he showed a map and told me to just go up here a kilometer and stop at such and such a street and park right there. The next bus you see going from your right to your left, follow it, and it will take you right to your hotel. Sure enough, I recognized the community and got right to the hotel. I’m glad he helped me out because that gas gauge was holding on for dear life, and there wasn’t a gas station on every corner in London like there is here. That was definitely an interesting experience.