Hmm, I think it is time for me to write to you about my “Airport incident” as I promised. After all you guys came back today specifically to hear it, and I am not a tease. The story shall be told after all. This is by the way a true story, which is what makes it so good. So now, without further ado, and because I can’t possibly stall you guys any longer, here is the infamous Sandmonkey Logan Airport story. Are you ready? You sure? Positive? Ok, ok, fine! I will tell it now. Jeeez, you guys are pushy!
It all started about 4 weeks after 9/11. I had just got back to the states to resume my classes not a week before. I was in Egypt when 9/11 happened and I couldn’t get back to the States for more then 2 weeks after. The Airports were closed and all that. Remember those fun days, when you couldn’t stop watching CNN or Fox news and there were American flags everywhere? You know the days when patriotism in America was the fad of the moment and you couldn’t buy or own enough Flags or United We Stand carstickers? Ehh, anyway….
My dad’s best friend, whom we shall call Mohamed, needed me to do him a favor when I was in Boston. His sister was suffering from cancer, and for a good part of 2001 she was at the Dana Farber Institute in Boston getting treated. After 6 months of treatment and more then 200, 000 dollars spent ( Not having medical insurance in the US sucks) the doctors declared that it was hopeless for her anyway. They informed her that she has a maximum of a week to 10 days to live, and that she needs to go back to Egypt ASAP.
Now, the way we normally travel is by taking the Egypt Air flight from Cairo to New York(JFK airport), and then either take a plane ( LaGuardia airport) or a train ride from New York to Boston and vice versa. The doctors at Dana Farber said that that was impossible, and that she is in such a weak state that she can’t take train rides or switching airports. They then proceeded to reserve her a first class plane ticket on the next Lufthansa flight flying from Logan Airport in Boston, to arrive in Germany, and there she would board the next plane to Egypt. One Airport, no hassles, end of story. “That’s what’s best for the patient” they were told, and they naturally obliged, despite already having bought her a first class ticket on Egypt Air. Now, all they needed was for someone to take her to the airport and make sure she gets on the plane. And that’s where my part comes in.
You see, being an Egyptian in the States is a responsibility similar to being an ambassador. You are like the servant of anyone who wants something from Egypt. Whatever they ask of you, ranging from checking airplane tickets to getting them “Horny goat weed” from the GNC store( don’t ask), you have to do it. So when I got the phone call from my dad, telling me that it is my duty to take her to the airport since I am “their man in the USA”, I knew I couldn’t say no. Not to mention, I really liked my Dad’s best friend, he is like my Uncle and he did give me the keys to his rented apartment on the 17th floor in a posh building overlooking the Boston Commons for the whole summer. I had to do this!
Now, this was supposed to be a fairly straightforward transaction: The Hospital was supposed to take her to the Airport, I receive her, take her to the Lufthansa first class booth, where they will get her an EMS dude who will push her wheelchair around and get her on the plane. End of story. 15 minutes tops and I am out of there, while giving those in Egypt the impression that I actually did them a huge favor. It was beautiful in its simplicity. What could possibly go wrong?
( When am I ever gonna learn not to say that sentence?)
Upon my arrival to Logan, you could see the post-911 decoration everywhere: American flags, National guardsmen holding M16 or what have you, and big huge signs everywhere that inform me that I can not pass through the security checkpoints without having both a valid ID and a boarding pass. I suddenly remembered that I didn’t bring my ID with me, but I quickly tossed the thought aside because I knew I didn’t really need it. I wasn’t even gonna come close to the security checkpoint, so why should I worry?
Anyway, so my Uncle’s sister-whom we shall call “the lady”- finally arrives on a wheelchair. The hospital people give me her 2 pieces of luggage, and give her her handbag and a bag filled with her medicines ( very important they said) that they hang on the side of her wheelchair. I thank them and they leave, and then I take her luggage and her to the Lufthansa First class service desk, where I chat with the receptionist in German while we get her bags checked. After she gets her boarding pass and everything, I then proceed to ask him for an EMS guy to escort her to her gate, since I am not flying with her. That’s when he informs me that they actually have ran out of EMS people, and that there are 3 other patients on the same plane that she is taking that already took the 3 EMS personnel that they had available.
So I ask him what are we supposed to do then, since I am not flying with her and I can’t cross the gate since I will need an ID and a boarding pass as the sign behind me says, and both of which I don’t have at the moment. He informs me that it’s not a problem, and that he has a solution: I will take her to the first class lounge and will be admitted inside with her, and 10 minutes before the first class people board, they will inform me so that I take her to the security gate personnel upstairs, whom he will inform of the situation and they will in turn make an exception just this once and let me pass and take her to the gate.
I asked him “Are you sure this won’t be a problem?”
He looked me straight in the eye and said :” No problem at all. Everything will go smoothly.” And then reassuringly added with a smile: “Trust me!”
(Oh god, when am I gonna learn not to trust people who say that?)
And I, having no choice, did trust him. Why would he lie to me about something like that, I figured? He will tell them at the gate, they are reasonable people, and everything will go smoothly. What’s the worst that can happen?
Ohh, how naive i was!
To be continued in the next post.