‘What a coincidence!’ cried TPR in the dining room of our holiday resort.
At first I thought that he had recognised an old work colleague, but when we approached the table I saw that his quarry was Neelix and Kes from Star Trek Voyager.
‘Leave them alone’, I said. ‘They’re on holiday too’.
However, Neelix and his girlfriend Kes were delighted to share their table with us. TPR and I were very impressed that they so willingly gave up their holiday time to be with us.
However, I became suspicious of our new ‘friendship’ when the holiday rep handed out evaluation forms at the end of our stay. A line drawing on the form supposedly represented a bunch of typical guests enjoying their time at the resort. We recognised many as the same holiday-makers who had shared our week. They included Neelix, Kes, and David the cheery half-bearded fisherman (who was now chatting up a new arrival). I realised that there were professionals in our midst, paid to befriend us. It was not Neelix and Kes that we had met, but the actors Ethan Philips and Jennifer Lien.
I vowed never to pay for a ‘Learn Italian in the sun’ package holiday ever again.