Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Kindness of strangers

  • After our Iberia flight in Malaga, Spain was delayed twice Sunday afternoon leading to a missed connecting Iberia flight from Madrid to the United States, I befriended two fellow stranded passengers, Yolie and Sarah, at the Madrid airport. 
  • I was already somewhat emotional after having said goodbye to my bestfriend Racso in Malaga (that goodbye at the security checkpoint seemed to unleash a dam of emotions from my father's recent passing).  I'm also a super nervous traveler.
  • I was doing my best to blink back the tears in Madrid and wondering what will happen next and how will I get home as I stood in line at the airport help desk with Sarah and Yoli in front of me in line. She noticed my sadness and would ask me every few minutes, "How are you holding up there?" which made me smile.
  • Frustations simmered as we waited and waited to find out that we weren't going to be able to fly home that night and we'd most likely have to travel the following day.  And one by one, emotions took over each of us at different times because when you have your heart set on going on home, you just want to get there and magically beam over somehow. Yet we bonded over our shared situation and made the most of it. 
  • We became a trio of travelers who comforted and listened to one another at the airport and then at the hotel that the airline offered us. I was proud that my Spanish came into good use in helping them deal with the airport and hotel clerks.
  • We all hung out at the hotel for dinner and then the following morning on the bus back to the airport. We stayed together until each of our individual flights (New York for Yoli and Houston for Sarah) departed the next day with mine being the last to Miami.
  • I want to say once again, thank you Yolie and Sarah for the laughs and comfort at the airport, hotel, the bus and then finally at the airport Starbucks where we exchanged bits about our lives in Miami (me a journalist dealing with some changes in the last year), Yolie (a skin consultant in Las Vegas desperately trying to get back to her cute dog) and Sarah (a new mom in Houston who had just attended her sister's bachelorette party.)  It's never easy being in a new city and feeling lost but when you have a fellow stranger become a friend, it makes all the difference. You both now have un amigo en Miami. Here's to new friendships born from frustrating situations.
  • (The selfie above was taken just before we left the hotel Monday morning back to the airport.  That's me on the left, Yolie in the middle and Sarah to the right.)