WE’RE HOME!!!!! We got back this evening after spending all of last week with a small team at an orphanage in Haiti. I’ll write more about our time there in the days to come, but I want to share a bit about our trip back home because things didn’t go as planned.
The plan was to leave Haiti on Friday on a 2:30pm flight, go through customs in Miami, then fly to Charlotte, NC at 7:10pm. We would overnight there because we couldn’t find any return flights that didn’t have us overnight somewhere, and that was the cheapest route. We would just sleep in the airport, so we could save money. Then we would fly to Minneapolis Saturday morning and finish the drive back home.
The first complication didn’t even happen at an airport; it happened when Haiti decided not to observe Daylight Savings, even though they have for years. So we weren’t sure if the airport was on DST for the sake of flight time accuracy or if they were following suit. That made figuring out what time we needed to be there a bit difficult. Once we arrived A woman asked which flight we were on, and I told her it was the 2:30pm flight, and she responded, “No, it’s at 1:30pm now.” I hadn’t adjusted my watch to DST, but the check-in kiosks were using the new time, so I thought we would miss our flight because the DST was 1:10pm, and we hadn’t even checked our bags. When we got to the counter, I asked what time it was, and, thankfully, the attendant said it was only 12:10pm, so we had plenty of time to get where we needed to go. It was incredibly confusing, though. I didn’t know that an entire country could just decided to not participate in daylight savings without any notice, but apparently it can happen.
For some reason, the woman who checked us in at the airport in Port-Au-Prince didn’t check our bags all the way through to Minneapolis; she checked them through to Charlotte. I didn’t notice right away and was confused because that had never happened on other overnight flights before. I thought that it might ruin our plans for sleeping in the airport because we would have to get our bags after our plane landed and hurry to recheck them and get back through security, or we would be stuck in the ticketing area with no place to lay down.
Our flight to Miami was on time, and we got through customs quickly, then we went to the gate for our next flight. Our flight was supposed to leave at 7:10pm, but we delayed until 7:30. Once we were boarded we had to wait for the catering people to bring water, and for some reason it took almost 2 hours. We didn’t leave Miami until 9:30! By that time I was really thinking we would have to sleep in the ticketing area in Charlotte. I wasn’t worried about it, but I was definitely not excited. I was really trying to maintain a good attitude as we sat in our plane because I know I can choose how I respond to situations, and I didn’t want to give something like a delay the power to make me upset. So as I sat there I thought that maybe God was giving us a gift of getting to rest in a cool, quiet airplane rather than laying on the floor of a busy airport. I decided I would enjoy it as long as it lasted.
As we approached Charlotte, a flight attendant came on the intercom and said that American Airlines would be providing hotel rooms for all customers because many people missed connecting flights. I was happy for them, but a bit disappointed because the delay didn’t cause us to miss a connecting flight, but it had made it impossible to get our bags and get back through security to sleep. One of the people who had come with us suggested we lie, so we could get a hotel room, but I didn’t want to do that.
Once we landed I went to the customer service desk. It was 11:30pm, and the line was really long because there were so many people on our flight. A lot of people were angry and even rude to the representatives that were helping them get set up with a hotel room, and that made me even more determined to not become impatient and irritable. I would be kind and patient no matter how long we had to wait. I prayed the whole time that we would somehow get a hotel room even though we didn’t qualify for one by any means. After an hour we were called to the desk. I asked the man if he could somehow get our bags sent to Minneapolis without us having to get them and recheck them, so we could just sleep by our gate and not in the ticketing area with a bunch of bags to watch all night. He said there was no way, but he still was going to give us a hotel room! On top of that he gave us $60 for meal vouchers in the airport! I couldn’t believe it! God did give us a gift, and it wasn’t just resting in a quiet airplane. That delay put us in a place to get two free hotel rooms with complimentary breakfast and money for food. And having our bags checked to Charlotte meant we had clothes and our toothbrushes for the night!
Sleeping in the hotel bed with air conditioning was amazing after sleeping on thin mattresses all week. We made our final flight and drove through a bit of snow, but we are home!
I just had to share how awesome God is. He loves to give His children gifts! What a good, good Father 🙂