Holly the Hero

It’s easy to complain about the media, whether you’re talking about television or social media. There’s too much negativity, views are too narrow, and it’s too easy to use the power of the tool to lash out and lose the essential humanity that’s inherent when people communicate one-on-one or in small groups. People have said things to me on Twitter that they would NEVER say in real life, and if they chose to, well, maybe it wouldn’t go so well.

But there are other times when media — both TV and social — are awesome. A way of communicating important messages, deliver art, and bring people together.

And that’s what the media helped with today. You’ve probably already read the saga of missing coat, and if you didn’t, go ahead and read that now or the rest of this wont make much sense.

When I arrived today, the plan was to go to Moss Bros as soon as they opened and just buy a new coat. But Kevin Blake advised against it. “I’m not too sure about doing that now,” he advised me in his Tipperary lilt. “These things have a way of turning up.”

I thought about his advice and realized he was right. There was no upside to running out and buying a new one — I hadn’t yet let the power of media do its thing. And I had a TV appearance coming up in a few minutes.

When I went on Sky Sports Racing this morning I name dropped Holly, still hoping that that was her real name. I knew she had a connection to Southwell Racecourse. I have also been tweeting about the incident since it happened. When I got back from the TV hit, I had a message: Sam Cone, of Windsor Racecourse, who was one degree removed from a woman named Holly with a connection to Southwell Racecourse.

The game was afoot.

It wasn’t 15 minutes later when the call came through. It was Holly! She was still in the area! We would soon be meeting in Car Park 1! (For the record, #carpark2forlife).

I went to Kevin immediately to thank him profusely saving me the 400 GBP for a new coat. “I’ll tell you what,” he said. “Give me 200 and we’ll call it even.”

I recruited Declan Rix, the ageist, to be my cameraman and went out to meet Holly and her pals. Declan can now add “PTF personal videographer” to his ever-growing curriculum vitae.

We got to the lot and there was Holly, wearing the coat. We made the exchange and filmed a little thing. I poked fun at her being under dressed in her jeans in front of the folks in their finery — hey, she owed me that much. You’re going to want an explanation for the incident and I’ll leave that for the video but — SPOILER ALERT — there isn’t much of one.

I had one more macro thought other than the media thing. One of my favorite things to do in life is to try to take negatives and turn them into positives. I have to remember that more, There was no reason at all to get so bent out of shape last night. I want to thank Holly for reinforcing the lesson, and being a kind person who really came through in the clutch.

She is done with Ascot for the meeting but I am excited to plan a future visit to Southwell, a course I really enjoy and have had several good days. It’s the surface here that most resembles dirt and that provides some angles in for U.S. punters. Our champagne will wait until then. Though I will point out, that Holly was also kind enough to gift me a nice bottle of bubbles, that will likely be consumed again tonight in Car Park 2.

For my next mystery, I will officially determine how to pronounce Southwell Racecourse. People have passionately argued for Suthell, South Well, and even Suvvel. But if I can get my coat back, I am confident I can solve this puzzle.

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