Sunday, December 03, 2006

Back Home

Back home in Texas, that is. Sometimes, you know, "home" means Illinois!

My 7:25 flight out of O'Hare on Friday evening quickly became an 8:30 flight. We were actually on board before 8:30, but then they decided de-icing was necessary (hard to argue with that!). A de-icing truck arrived, but didn't do anything. A second de-icer arrived to do the job. Then the pilot announced that the first one had broken down, and would need to be towed away before we could take off. So it was 9:45 before we left O'Hare. However, we made good time and arrived in San Antonio around 12:30, where my sister was waiting to haul me and my luggage home.

An interesting thing happened at O'Hare. I was sitting on the floor beside the phone bank, so I could plug my iBook into one of the few available outlets. A young man knelt down beside me and asked, very slowly and with an accent, what money he needed for a phone call. He had a handful of change, but needed know how to make a call. I knew the number he had written down was Chicago-area, but since the multiple area codes there confuse me, I just dialed the number on my cell phone for him. He spoke to someone in Spanish, and when he hung up, said he needed to find baggage claim. I pointed out the sign to him and he walked off.

About five minutes later, my phone rang. A woman asked me if I had loaned my phone to someone. After I said yes, she asked if the young man was still around. They were worried because he hadn't arrived at the baggage claim yet. She asked that if I saw him again, would I help him find baggage?

I said sure, but since we were a long way from the baggage claim, I really didn't think I'd see him again. But then, a few minutes later, I looked up and there he was! He said he had walked and walked, but couldn't find baggage claim. I actually sort of wondered if I was on Candid Camera (or maybe being tested by some social researcher to see if I was a nice person). But the young man -- his name was Javier -- was so sincere, not to mention cute, that I left my laptop with the nice lady who was watching my other stuff for me, and set off with him toward baggage claim.

I tried to call the number for his friend again, and got voice mail, where I left a message, telling her that I had Javier with me and we were heading towards baggage claim. While we walked, Javier told me he was here on his first visit to the US, for vacation, but he hoped to go to college here. He was also very excited by the snow, since he had never seen it in Colombia. His English wasn't bad, but he was obviously nervous about speaking it. Just as we got to the escalator to baggage claim, where I would have to let him go by himself, my phone rang. It was his friend. They were waiting at the bottom of the escalator. So -- Javier shook my hand, got on the escalator, and waved good-bye. I worried for a while, but I'm pretty sure that I would have gotten a call from his friend if they hadn't found each other!

It was an interesting experience. It isn't surprising he asked me about making a call, since I was sitting right under a pay phone, but the fact that he came back to find me when he decided he was lost is. I mean - there were LOTS of other people around who he could have asked! I guess I looked sufficiently Mom-like, and he knew that I would help him. Obviously, he was right. So -- good luck, Javier, wherever you are!

Oh - and there's been very little knitting this weekend, although I did frog that red scarf. I just wasn't happy with the pattern I was using.

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