“Welcoming someone home is such a great feeling that never gets old.”
After a long flight, there's nothing more comforting than getting off the plane to a warm welcome and greeting banner from loved ones. But imagine the person awaiting your arrival is someone you’ve watched in popular movies—and one particular classic holiday film. For the weary holiday travelers at Heathrow Airport in London, the sight of Martine McCutcheon from Love Actually was truly a sight to behold. There to spread a little Christmas cheer, thanks in part to Heathrow’s volunteer program, McCutcheon welcomed passengers home for the holidays on Tuesday, December 19.
While it turned out to be quite the surprise for the passengers, it’s not all that far-fetched to find the English actress there at the airport. McCutcheon, after all, is no stranger to doling out big, warm hugs in a crowded terminal. Only this time it wasn’t for the big screen.
If you’ll recall, McCutcheon, who played Natalie in the 2003 Christmas flick, surprised Hugh Grant at the airport with a hug. So it’s only fitting the 41-year-old entertainer from Hackney, East London, would do the same thing for fellow Londoners in real life.
According to a press release from the airport, McCutcheon was one of the volunteers offering her time and hugs for Heathrow’s program. The program was designed to allow people the “opportunity to give their loved ones a personal welcome home at arrivals if they can’t be there themselves.”
“It was one of my all-time favorite scenes to film and even now I get so excited every time I’m at Heathrow,” McCutcheon told the airport. “Welcoming someone home is such a great feeling that never gets old. At Christmas, this is truer than ever. I love that Heathrow is giving everyone the chance to welcome home their loved one through this amazing team of volunteers who are spreading Christmas joy at the airport and bringing us all a bit closer together this Christmas.”
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Heathrow’s holiday program runs through Saturday, December 23, and allows friends and loved ones to share flight details, name of the passenger, and a personal message through a direct message on Twitter. Once Heathrow receives the information on social media, airport officials will arrange for volunteers to welcome the travelers at arrival “with a big, warm welcome and a personal message from home.”