12: Alone in the Airport

12: Alone in the Airport

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Alone in the Airport

Being there at the moment is everything.

~Author Unknown

It was my first job interview. I was wearing the new business attire my mom had bought me for Christmas and holding the leather padfolio I had borrowed from my dad. I felt so official. I sat at the airport, head held high, the twenty-two-year-old college student who was going to have a job after graduating. A church had called me for a last-minute interview; I was one of two candidates being flown out to Florida for the spot. I was determined to win them over.

Checking my watch, though, I was starting to get anxious. My flight was running late, and I needed to make a connection in Atlanta.

“We are so sorry, ladies and gentlemen. There is really bad weather in the Atlanta area, so your flight is being delayed.”

I had a little leeway in my timing, but with each subsequent announcement, my confidence diminished. Finally, I knew it. I would miss my connection. I couldn’t help but wonder if this church would still consider me, the twenty-two-year-old college student, when I couldn’t make it on time for an interview.

I called Mr. Clark, the man who asked me for the interview, and gave him my choices—fly out to Atlanta that night and get to Fort Myers, Florida, by morning, still being able to make most of the interview slots they had planned, or schedule a new weekend to fly down.

“We will get you a hotel in Atlanta. Fly down there, and we’ll see you in the morning when you get here.”

They still wanted to meet me! My phone buzzed with a confirmation number for a hotel room in Atlanta, and I sat calmly in the boarding zone until my flight was cleared to go. Sure, this wasn’t exactly the plan, but it was going to work out. I would still stride in confidently, wearing new business attire, holding a padfolio, looking fresh and ready for this interview—the twenty-two-year-old college student who was going to have a job out of college.

The plane touched down in Atlanta at 11:00 p.m. I was ready to get to the hotel and crash. As I exited the plane, I was struck by the immense number of people crowding the airport. I knew Atlanta was a huge city, but this place was packed. I made my way to the taxi and shuttle services, and gave the hotel a call.

“Hello, I have a room reservation for tonight, and I am just wondering how I get to your hotel. Do you have a shuttle service from the airport?”

“You don’t have a room,” an apathetic voice responded.

“What do you mean, I don’t have a room? I have a confirmation number.” I couldn’t help but notice how small my voice began to sound.

“A ton of flights have been re-routed tonight. So I’m sorry, all of our rooms are taken. You don’t have a room.” The apathetic voice didn’t sound sorry.

I hung up. Frustrated, but determined. What would a confident twenty-two-year-old out of college do? Surely, she wouldn’t cry. I called Mr. Clark to let him know about my situation, and I found a wall of hotel listings.

I heard everyone making phone calls around me, and they were all saying the same thing. “There is nothing.” The airport seemed bigger, there were people everywhere, and I had a horrible realization that I was on my own. I knew no one in Atlanta. I was going to have to sleep on the floor in an airport before my first job interview. This twenty-two-year-old college student began to want her mom.

Was this a closed door? Would I even get a chance to interview for this position?

My cell phone rang.

It was Grandma.

Why was my grandma calling me at 11:30 p.m.? Anxious to keep my line free but also a little worried about what this call would entail, I answered.

“Hello?”

“Are you in the Atlanta airport?” my grandma asked.

“Yes.” I had no idea how she knew that. She lived in Orlando, and I hadn’t told her anything about my flight situation.

“Well, I was flying back from Oklahoma on business, and my flight got re-routed. I am in the Atlanta airport, too.”

I told her where I was and waited for her to find me. I couldn’t believe my grandma was in the airport. But when she found me, I was thrown into further shock.

“Ronni, my flight to Orlando was boarding, and as I got up to get on the plane, I had this sudden feeling that I needed to get off this flight. God told me that you were here in this airport, and I needed to get a hotel room and find you.”

My grandma gave up her seat, booked a flight for the next morning, got a hotel room, and had found me in the mess of the Atlanta airport. The door was still open—I was going to make it to my interview.

That night, I got three hours of sleep because my grandma’s new flight was at 5:00 a.m. After that incredibly stressful night, I expected to be exhausted and not in great interview shape. Thankfully, God gave me another miracle, as I had the energy and endurance of someone well rested throughout the interview process. And two weeks later, I got another phone call that changed my life—the church offered me the position. This twenty-two-year-old college student did graduate with a job!

~Ronni Meier

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