It is cold. Bitterly cold. It is midnight. In the dark, a child cries, softly. His mother, dressed in traditional Muslim costume tries to keep him warm. His father looks on, helpless.
The child is a boy, around 9 months to a year old. He is shivering. He does not understand why he is so cold.
The guards have linked arms and are refusing sanctuary. Many people are pushing, trying to get inside. The guards are pushing back, because the place inside is strictly off-limits.
I talk to the family. They are from far away and do not speak English. I do not speak their language. Eventually, we find that we can communicate in pidgin French.
The woman explains that they have nowhere to go. They are cold. They are tired. They are hungry. They do not understand why they are being treated like this, when they have done nothing wrong.
I approach the guard. I ask him if it is his policy to deny sanctuary to a small child. "No." he replies. I tell him that he needs to let them in. I explain that his actions are inhuman. He tells me that he is only doing his job.
I lose my temper.
"Let these people in. This is crazy!" I exclaim. "If you don't, there's going to be trouble."
"Are you threatening me?" the guard asks.
"Sir, I am not threatening anyone. But if this woman and her family are not inside by the time I finish this cigarette, I will make it my life's work to ensure that you never work again, here or anywhere else." The guard looks at me, menacingly.
A couple of burly chaps standing close by see what is happening. I explain the situation to them. They push the crowd apart and make a way through. The guard stands to the side, helpless, and unsure of his position. I beckon the woman and her family.
"Allons-y!" I cry. They understand.
"Come on! Kids, come on! Allons-y! Kommen auf! Vamanos!"
About 50 more small children and their families follow. The guard has lost authority. Nobody tries to stop them.
Must be a scary place when you've come from foreign lands to Heathrow Airport on a winter's day.
Welcome to England.