Guys, what I am about to share is nothing short of a miracle. I fly a LOT and I know that it is almost impossible to go from waking up at 6:43am to boarding a flight at 7:15am. But when Jesus is involved, indeed all things become possible!
You might ask me how I ended up in this situation and the answer is simple – I was tired and I overslept!
I was in France for 2 nights – Friday in Barbizon/Fontainebleau at my alma mater, INSEAD, and Saturday in Paris. On Saturday morning I got to campus early and took some time to walk around alone. It was quite surreal being back there after 2 years and I really got in my feelings as I walked around. Afterwards, I hung out with the Naija crew on campus and we had a good time.
I left for Paris around midday with a plan – find spicy food, catch up with 2 of my friends and be back at my hotel by 8pm at the latest. Great plan, right? I had booked a hotel that was very close to the airport because I had an early flight on Sunday morning (with a boarding time of 7:15am) and I did not trust myself enough to wake up in good time. The airport in Paris is far from everywhere, so I was not taking chances. I checked in at the hotel and then set out by train to Paris. I ended up finding spicy food, buying my travel-size chilli pepper tube from Oh!NG and hanging out with 4 fabulous people (3 old friends from Covenant University and 1 brand new friend from Instagram).
I only got back to my hotel by 12:30am!!! As you can see, this was a clear case of ‘afowafa’ (self-inflicted problem) and I should have set 3 alarms, asked for a wake-up call or maybe even just stayed awake, lol. Nopes – I did no such thing. I just slept off and opened my eyes at 06:43am.
[Editor’s note: from this point, I am just going to type what I had written to one of my friends on WhatsApp as I tried to describe what happened from the point when I opened my eyes. I will also make a few minor edits.]
Only GOD did not allow me to miss this flight – only GOD! After I opened my eyes and saw the time, I jumped up, brushed my teeth, washed my face and other important body parts and RAN! No makeup, no jewelry, nothing! I just dumped EVERYTHING in my bag (phones, chargers, etc) and ran. That took me about 8 mins. (06:51am)
I ran downstairs, saw the queue to checkout and just kept running – I did not check out or even try to collect the refund of my 100 Euros security deposit (and you know Ijebu girls don’t mess with money).
[Update: when I got to Frankfurt, I called the hotel and told them my situation. They checked me out and told me to come back to collect my 100 Euros whenever I am back in the country. Sigh!]
God planted a Ghanaian porter at the door. I asked him long it would take to get to Terminal 1 by train and he said 30 mins. Remember that my flight was going to start boarding in 20 mins. At that point, my heart sunk to my feet. I spent 5 seconds trying to give up, then remembered the important 9am Monday morning meeting I have in Ghana and I woke up again.
I asked him how long it would take by cab and he responded 15 Euros. Notice I asked how long but he responded with ‘how much’. Hahahaha! Thank God, I had 20 Euros in my pocket so I said sure. Note – I am that annoying person that does not like to carry cash. I am ‘Madam Cashless’ so it was a miracle that I had the 20 Euros on me.
He jumped into the hotel shuttle (which does not go to Terminal 1 at all – I know because I had asked when I checked in at the hotel the day before) and drove me to T1. That whole discussion and the drive took about 13mins. (07:04am)
I say God planted him there for 2 reasons. First, it was so much easier to talk to him in English. We recognized each other’s accents and did not bother to do Francais síl vous plet things. Secondly, I think because we connected, he just had mercy on me and went out of his way to help me.
When we got to Terminal 1, I FLEW OUT and continued running. For the first time, arrows and signs started confusing me. After a short rigmarole (which felt like eternity), I managed to find the direction to the gates and continued running. I ran down some stairs and ran up again. I ran straight on the long escalator line and even when there was a slope, I did not stop running, I just kept running!
When I got to some cross-over point, the queue for economy class was LOOOONG! I went to the business class side and showed the lady that my flight was boarding in 5mins (yes, it was 07:10am by this time) and she let me through. Another ANGEL used by God!
I continued running until I got to the security screening point. I was prepared to beg if there was a long queue. I was also praying for forgiveness for all the times I had said ‘okay, its fine’ to people who asked to jump the queue because they were about to miss their flights but then rolled my eyes and muttered ‘but why are you late naa?’ under my breath after they passed. Thankfully, God forgave me in advance, went ahead of me and cleared everyone off the queue such that there was only one person ahead of me on the queue, pheeeeeeeew!!!
I went through security confidently thinking the worst was over and then my bag was held back. Ah!! I forgot I had 2 tubes of chilli pepper in my bag and did not bring them out. 3 mins later, after a thorough search of my bag and a reapplication of deodorant since I had been working out (hehehe), I was on my way!
Thank God again, my gate was only 1 min away and I got there just as they made the announcement that the flight was ready to board. PHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW! This was when I finally stopped running.
It could only be GOD that made it possible for me to make it on this flight when I woke up 30 mins before boarding time. God used online check-in, no check-in luggage (see another reason why one must not carry too much load), sense to pack up my things the night before, the Holy Spirit to tap my skull at 6:43am, the Ghanaian porter (Chale, God bless you for me o!), the business class queue lady who let me go through that line despite being an economy class passenger, the people I almost knocked over while running, the no queue at security and the small fitness remaining in my body to save me today! Dear GOD, thank you o!!!!
When I got to Frankfurt, I went into the first bathroom I saw to freshen up again (too much adrenaline), apply some powder, wear my earrings and change into clean clothes (yup, I wore whatever I saw on the top of my box when I woke up). Then I humbly and joyfully walked to my boarding gate ready to head back home to Lagos.
I cannot even think of any moral to the story beyond the fact that our good good Father GOD is interested in every single little detail of our lives and is committed to making sure we are not stranded. Secondly, alarm clocks work – Kemi, use an alarm. Amen!!
Have you ever missed a flight? Have you ever ALMOST missed a flight? Please share your experience with us in the comments section. For the superheroes who have never missed a flight, how do you do it?
Cheers to no more missed flights ever,