We heard that a snow storm was slamming the North, when we arrived at the San Juan airport at 1 p.m. We checked the arrival and departure screen and saw a list of canceled flights, but our 6 p.m. flight heading north was only delayed. We were returning from a family Christmas vacation, and my son, Bob, had waited to complete an assignment that was due the next day.
I was concerned because he was a high school senior, and a poor grade could affect his college acceptances. Bob said that he had it under control and assured me that he would finish his report when he had internet on the plane, since there was none on the first flight. Little did he know that his procrastination would lead to an unbelievable coincidence.
We watched passengers pace with phones pressed to their ears because flight cancellations caused plans to change. Many grabbed their luggage and left. By 5:00 p.m., our departure-time status was blank, and we suspected that our flight would be cancelled. To fill time, we went to an airport restaurant for dinner. When we returned, we didn’t see any airline employees behind the desk at our gate or even at any nearby gates. The airport had emptied, and my hopes for leaving that night deflated like a boat sail. The abandoned terminal felt eerie as we watched kiosks close, and restaurant lights darken. Though the restaurants were closed, fried onion odors lingered — like us. The only people left at our airport wing were passengers on our flight, and some had moved to sit at nearby gates.
We sat on our padded seats, that seemed to harden like cement, and watched a high school swim team play catch football at the gate across the aisle. Woodward High School was printed on the boy’s shirts, and we recognized the school because Bob’s school, Craxton, competes against them in sports. When Bob saw them, he walked over and shook hands with the team’s coaches. I thought that he knew one of them, but I was wrong. I believe that the following dialogue resembles their conversation.
“Hi, I’m Bob Smith, and I go to Craxton High School.”
“Ohhh, you do? Do you know Father Corbin ? He taught for 19 years at Woodward and transferred to Craxton about 3 years ago.”
” Yes, I’m in his Science class. He’s a great guy. Actually, I have a lab report due for him tomorrow, and I’m worried about finishing it because of the flight delay.”
“Father Corbin is a good friend, and I am going to text him that you are stranded.”
The coach texted Father Corbin and told him that he was delayed in San Juan, and he was with one of his students, Bob Smith. He added that Bob was worried about completing his assignment.
Father Corbin texted back to tell Bob to stop worrying, and they would talk in class.
Bob talked sports with the coaches and team and returned to his seat flashing a wide smile.
He said, “You’re not going to believe who the coach is friends with.”
We boarded the flight around 11 p.m. and landed about 3 a.m. Without much sleep, Bob went to school and spoke to his teacher. They worked out a plan.
Bob had everything under control all right.
*This is a true story, but I changed the names.