Trainee DO drives 156 miles to save couple’s wedding anniversary

The team at Specsavers in Gyle stepped in to save the day after an Edinburgh man lost his glasses on the eve of his anniversary, while paddle boarding in the Scottish Highlands.

John Saunderson, a 53-year-old butcher from Edinburgh, was enjoying a staycation (pre-lockdown 2) in the picturesque Highland village of Kenmore with his wife and family to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

John’s celebrations were cut short after losing his glasses while paddle boarding on Loch Tay. John soon realised that the happy couple would be unable take part in their planned activities, or drive home, without his glasses.

As a long-time glasses wearer, John phoned his regular optician at Specsavers Gyle for advice. On hearing of his predicament, the store took it upon themselves to go above and beyond to hand-deliver replacement glasses to the worried couple at the hotel where they were staying.

The 156-mile roundtrip took trainee dispensing optician, Kaylie Tester, more than four hours to complete.

John Saunderson, says: ‘I’ve worn glasses since I was 12 years old, so it never occurred to me that I should’ve taken them off before my first attempt at paddle boarding. Unfortunately, like many a beginner before me, I lost my balance, my paddle went up in the air and I went into the water.

‘During the tumble and the immediate shock of hitting the freezing cold water of the loch, I soon realised my glasses were no longer on my head and I was unable to retrieve them due to the depth of the water and being hindered by the life jacket I was wearing. After making it back onto dry land, it soon dawned on me that I wasn’t able to make the long drive home to Edinburgh without my specs.

‘I called my regular optician to explain my situation to see what advice they could give. Sophie was very understanding over the phone and explained that the store would be able to arrange replacement glasses for me within an hour and have them delivered direct.

‘I couldn’t believe that they were willing to travel that distance to make sure I got replacement glasses, especially as I had lost them when I should have known better. I was willing to pay for a courier but they insisted that they would make the journey themselves.

‘Later that evening the doorbell rang and Kaylie from Specsavers Gyle was on the steps with replacement frames, which were a perfect fit. We gave her a box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne in thanks for going out her way for me.

‘Those replacement frames allowed me to enjoy the rest of our staycation – without them I couldn’t see distances beyond 6ft. After that I kept to long walks with the dog. If I every attempt paddle boarding again then I’ll be sure to get contact lenses from Specsavers.’

Kaylie Tester, who is also the assistant manager, says: ‘After receiving John’s call and understanding the fairly unusual predicament he was in, we knew we wanted to help and were happy to hand-deliver replacements to him so that he could enjoy the remainder of his anniversary with his wife and safely make the drive home.

‘John and his wife were hugely appreciative and a little surprised that I had made the four-hour car journey up to them. They were delighted and let me know that I had made their weekend.’

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