They weren't doing badly. I mean, the staff looked up and greeted me, and checked what train I was catching etc in a friendly, professional, and yes, welcoming manner. But it stopped short of being the most welcoming.
Because, in my books, that title is currently held by Didcot Parkway.
Yes, there is a stupidly long detour needed to get step free access to platform One. (looking on google, I reckon it's nearly 0.5km longer than the stairs!) and is not an easy route to push. It's a route I need assistance for.
And the current improvement works mean that being dropped off near the ticket office is a nightmare.
So how come it is still welcoming?
Here's how: It was windy and cold and rainy and generally 'stay inside' weather. But 4 staff had a fight over who got to take me the long, outdoors route to platform One.
(OK. slight exaggeration, they didn't actually fight.)
Then once they'd decided on 2 winners, one pushed me, the other fetched an umbrella and we braved the storm. 'Brolly position meant the chap pushing couldn't see where he was going so we travelled to a soundtrack of "left a bit, right a bit, dropped kerb coming up".
Usually the unobtrusive help is best - and what I usually get at Didcot. But sometimes, when the help involves people going out in hideous weather, having staff fight over who gets to take you rather than who gets to stay inside, and then go the second mile in ensuring that you are as comfortable (and dry) as possible, is, quite simply, the most welcoming thing I could have asked for. It made me feel special - not as a person with disabilities, but as a valued customer.
And they are interested in my views on access and assistance etc. In a 'talking about stuff so we can do better' way.
And not only that, but a few weeks ago I got told off for running in the subway at Didcot. Which is awesome. Why?...well, I might have been going a little fast. It is down-hill and on the smoothest, most marvelous-for-wheeling floor. Most places no-one says anything because I'm in a wheelchair. Eyebrows might be raised, but no-one says a word. Perhaps they think I'll be offended. But no, the good natured yell reminded me that I might be on wheels, but I am also just one of the crowd of commuters who occasionally hurry a little more than is appropriate.
So Paddington, although I applaud your efforts, Didcot still holds first place.