Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An Angel in Disguise... my blessing.

On December 23, 2007 I was cold, hungry, and exhausted at the Chicago airport lost amongst thousands of other stranded passengers wondering how I was going to get home for Christmas. I had been up since 3:30 that Sunday morning, where I had gotten on a plane at home, and stuck in Chicago since around 10 a.m. My flight had faced several delays already. All I wanted was to get back to my parents' house where I always headed for Christmas. But then around 2:00 my flight out was finally cancelled, and I didn't know what to do.
I leaned against a wall and tried to think. I was so tired that I couldn't understand the announcements on the loudspeakers. I had called a phone number to try to re-book my flight but the person at the other end of the line had been unable to get me on anything except a "possible standby" for the next day. I started crying. I was supposed to have already BEEN there. Hours ago. There was a 4 year old waiting for me at my destination telling me, "You said you'd be here already." She was waiting for me to come play. And now I might not even get there tomorrow.
Then someone came close to me.

I can only describe her as an angel.

"Are you okay?" she asked. "Is there anything I can do to help?" Normally, I would not let anyone help me with anything. With my personality, I'd rather tough things out by myself and figure out what to do on my own. But today I was at the end of my rope, scared I wouldn't make it home by Christmas, and I was desperate. So instead of toughing it out on my own, I told the smiling lady what was going on. About how long I'd been awake. About how I was so far from home. That I couldn't think and I didn't know what to do and it looked like I wasn't going to make it home today.
"It's going to be okay," the angel-lady told me. "Come with me."

So I followed her. She tried to get me a 1st class ticket on the next flight out. Unfortunately, there weren't any 1st class seats-- there were no seats, there was no airplane. So she helped get me booked standby on the next flight out that afternoon-- more than I had been able to accomplish. She also got me booked on the next morning's flight as well, just in case. She talked to the flight agent and they helped calm me down. I was on the phone with my parents, my sister, my husband, not knowing what to do, on a cell phone whose battery was running low. I asked my parents to try to drive from Ohio to Chicago to come get me and they were going to be on their way. Someone mentioned how they'd never make it through in this weather. Maybe I should still try to get on the airplane just in case. The angel-lady helped me look for a hotel just in case I had to spend the night.
She had asked me how much money I had-- I didn't have much.

I had been careful about not buying too much food or anything during my all-day stay at the airport. But she told me I didn't have enough money. Her flight was leaving. I was so grateful that she had taken over for a few minutes that I gave her a hug. I didn't know what I would have done without this beautiful person's help. She had been able to keep things moving forward to me when I had frozen out of fear and exhaustion.

"It's all going to be okay," she reminded me one more time. "It'll be okay."
I told her thank you one more time and she shook my hand. Then she disappeared. I tried to see where she was going to get on her flight, but I was so distracted by all the people and all the airport chaos that it seemed as though she vanished as soon as she shook my hand.
Inside my hand I felt something rough. Slowly I opened my hand.
It was a $100 bill.

Well I went back to waiting in the airport, but this time with a renewed faith in people and feeling like I was worth helping. My parents eventually did show up, and I don't think my flight ever did get out that afternoon. It was a day late, but I did get to spend Christmas with my family. Eventually too, I even got my suitcase back, which had probably gone on an adventure of its own.
I wish so much that I could see my angel-lady one more time and tell her thank you. Not for the money, although that certainly helped me get some dinner, and I passed the rest on to another girl in need. And not necessarily for arranging flights for me or making sure I had a place to stay. I want to thank her for stopping in the 1st place, when she saw a lost and upset girl in a great big airport, and for opening her heart to another human being. After traveling all day, running low on energy, and feeling very trapped and lonely, I wasn't feeling much like a person anymore. Yet this angel came and helped me out, anyway. My faith in people had been running low lately as well... and she helped me see once again that there are people that have goodness in their hearts and will show kindness to others, asking nothing in return.
And so if you are reading this, my angel-lady in disguise, please know that I truly appreciate what you have done. Thank you for stopping to help a lost girl in a big airport. Your act of kindness is engraved on my heart forever.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how angels come to us, out of the blue, just when we need them.

There's this movie with Denzel Washington called "fallen" in which a demon moves from person to person by touch.

I thought it was a cool idea. What if angels moved that way, flowing from one person to another through a handshake or a hug or hand on a shoulder? Kindness and love flowing through the world, from one human to another through simple and powerful gestures.

This is a beautiful story. Can I link to you in my blog?

*~*Pilgrim*~* said...

Yes you are more than welcome to link to me in your blog-- thank you for your kind comments :)

Brandi said...

this post is absolutely wonderful!! Thank you for sharing this story with us. And you know what, she was your angel but you passed it on by helping someone else out. That is amazing.

thank you for being in this world