IELTS Cue Card Sample 418 - Situation when you were surprised to see a person

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Talk about a situation when you were surprised to see a person you know.

You should say:

  • who this person was
  • when and where you saw him/ her
  • what you were doing then

and explain why you were surprised to see this person.

Model Answer:
This is an easy, peasy topic for me to talk about! I can think of one particular situation that stands out in my memory when I bumped into someone totally unexpectedly, and in the most unlikely of situations. I’m going to enjoy telling you all about it, though I wonder if I’ll be able to convey to you exactly how bizarre it was that we met again in the way that we did.  I’ll explain who I met, when, where, what we were doing, and why it was such a big surprise for both of us.

So the person I met was someone I’d been at school with. Now, for this story to make sense you have to know that I left school about thirty years ago, so I hadn’t seen this friend since the day we finished our exams three decades earlier. We were friendly at school, but not enough to keep in touch after we left, and as so often happens we went our different ways and had no idea at all what had happened to one another in the years that followed.

A few years ago, I moved to Sheffield to take up a new job. I didn’t know the city or anyone in it. After I’d been there a couple of years, I decided I needed to get fit, and so when I heard about a local free 5km running event that took place every Saturday in a park near to where I lived I plucked up the courage to give it a go. Now, this was a really unlikely thing for me to do. I had never run before in my life, and it was not at all my natural habitat. I wasn’t very fast, but I did get round and in a peculiar way I enjoyed it enough that I went back again the following week. To my absolute amazement, it was at this return visit that I spotted a familiar face in the crowd of nearly 500 runners.  Someone I recognised from school! The weird thing was that I didn’t even know she’d also moved to Sheffield (we both went to school just outside London which is 200 miles away), what’s more, neither of us was remotely sporty at school, so seeing her there, so far from where we used to live, doing such an unlikely activity as running and recognising her after thirty years in such a big crowd was extraordinary! Even more amazingly, I just went up to her and said ‘hello Delia’ and she replied ‘hello Lucy’ and we just knew each other straight away.

We were both amazed! We went off to have breakfast together and talked solidly for over three hours. (It was a long breakfast!). It turned out she’d moved to Sheffield straight after doing her A-levels, so had lived here for years and years, and what’s more, her house was just a couple of miles away from the flat I was renting. We seemed to pick up exactly where we’d left off. Better than that really. We now meet up to run and then have breakfast together every week, but we also do other things like go to the cinema or theatre together. I help her on her allotment sometimes and she has been a great friend to me. I feel so lucky that this unlikely and unexpected meeting helped me to reconnect with a good friend from the past. It goes to show it pays to have your eyes peeled and your wits about you when you are out and about – you never know who you might encounter unexpectedly and where it might lead! ‘Surprise’ isn’t quite a big enough word for how I felt spotting her, but I’m so glad I did.

[ Written by - Lucy Marris:  Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

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