I had two encounters with Max Clifford, the PR supremo who died today from a heart attack. The first recollection involves a baby, a dummy, WH Smith and Waterloo Station. It happened in 1999. The second chance meeting took place when my daughter was 12 years old in 2011.
Way back when my daughter was about four months old I had taken her to WH Smith in Waterloo Station. She was never separated from her dummy apart from when she would think it was funny to throw it on the floor. Of course, being a baby, like others who pick the most inconvenient of moments to be difficult, she threw her dummy on the floor of the store. It was rush hour. I was sure someone would step on the dummy and squash it. With no spare dummy in the nappy bag I was dreading the consequences. A man blocked the way and picked it up. He gave it to me and I was stunned upon recognising him. Max Clifford was constantly in the news then for breaking stories that were salacious and earned his clients lots of money. I thanked him and he gave my baby a big smile. I literally dined out on that encounter for a long time.
Almost 12 years later we were passing through Waterloo Station again. Max Clifford was waiting for his train. I seized the moment to tell him about the dummy story. He was tickled pink. We had a chuckle and he very nicely offered his help if we ever needed it. There was never a cause to call upon him for.
Soon after the scandal broke about his crimes and he was jailed. I never would have guessed.