A SECOND World War veteran was left “shaking like a leaf” after becoming accidentally locked inside a post office.
Eric Watson, 88, became trapped inside Blackford Avenue Post Office after popping in to buy stamps and tubes of wall plaster.
Now the pensioner is appealing for help to find three women who took care of him and helped him back to his serviced flat on Oswald Road when he was eventually freed.
Mr Watson, who previously served in the RAF and suffers from a heart condition, said he panicked when he found himself alone and unable to get out the tiny shop, which measures just a few metres wide.
He insists he was locked in for 45 minutes before being let out – forcing him to find a seat behind the till as his legs grew tired.
But post office bosses say he was only trapped for ten minutes, after the young employee who was running the store failed to spot him before locking the door to go to the toilet.
Mr Watson, who has two grandchildren at Portobello High School, said a man with a set of keys eventually unlocked the door from the outside.
The veteran then made his way around the corner and sat down to recover – admitting that by this point he felt “pretty grim” following his ordeal.
It was then that a woman in her 70s approached to ask if he was all right. On hearing what had happened, she rushed off and came back ten minutes later in a car with two nurses.
The three woman – described by Mr Watson as “angels” – drove the pensioner back to his flat and made sure he was safe and well.
Mr Watson’s son Mike, who lives in Duddingston, has called for the women involved to get in touch so the family can thank them – insisting they may well have saved his dad’s life.
He said: “You can walk around that shop in 30 seconds, and you’ve got CCTV covering the whole place – including behind the till. It’s absolutely bizarre how anybody could get locked in that shop.
“He was going around pushing buttons, trying to find any alarm he could set off. He got himself out of the shop and was distressed. When the lady found him he was sat just around the corner from the shop trying to get his breath back and all the rest of it.
“He was in a real state when [she] found him, and he is quite a resilient guy. He was hyperventilating. We saw him half an hour later and he needed a scotch and was shaking like a leaf.”
Mahmood Hassan, postmaster at Blackford Avenue Post Office, said the young employee – who was running the shop at the time – had locked up before going to the toilet, failing to notice there was still someone inside.
He insisted he had only been away for ten minutes before he came back and found Mr Watson sitting behind the till.