This post isn’t going to be about food, or sites I have visited or markets in foreign countries. Rather, this is about the kindness of strangers, and what happened to me this week gives me hope that the world has kind strangers who are willing to help. I have not told A SINGLE PERSON about this, until now.
We spent the majority of October in Antigua Guatemala to visit and to volunteer — my husband recently retired and did some work with an International Planned Parenthood NGO. His experiences and what is really going on in Guatemala with respect to population growth could fill a 400-page book. More on that later, perhaps.
I had my birthday at the end of October (YAY!), the murders at the Pittsburg synagogue took place the day before I left and I was so distraught. I returned home the next day by myself. My flight went from Guatemala City to Mexico City, then on to Seattle. The 2 ½ hour layer with AeroMexico in Mexico City was pretty uneventful and I did the usual: cleared customs, refilled my water bottle, downloaded the latest version of my newspapers and a movie on my iPad, all was well. Until it wasn’t.
I boarded my six-plus hour flight around dinnertime. I took out my knitting, looked at my phone to put it into Airplane mode, and I saw a voicemail and missed call. The voicemail, in broken English, said, “Hello Marilyn, this is Antonio. I have an iPad with your name on it…did you lose your iPad?” I had a huge hot flash, searched around and lo and behold my iPad was gone. Damn. I must have left it in the waiting area where I was reading my Kindle book. I kicked into gear, called Antonio but could only listen to his message. Another passenger listened to the Spanish recording too and confirmed what I thought it said, I kept calling, I kept getting the recording, the flight attendant said that it didn’t matter, that even if the device was brought to the gate I couldn’t get it due to security. Great. But I had hope…hope that because this man called me, he had my iPad and knew my name, my email and my phone #. I even purchased Wifi for the flight. And by the way, the worst part of this is that I had a really good book, two newspapers and two movies to keep me busy for those six plus hours. No iPad meant I got a LOT of knitting done.
A few hours into the flight, I heard from Antonio. He said he had my iPad, wanted to know where I left it just to be sure he had the correct owner. I told him where I had been sitting by gate 68, and that is where he discovered my device. He was headed to Campeche, Mexico for vacation and I wrote that I would text or email him when I got home.
THE SECOND MOST AMAZING PART OF THIS STORY? I read before I left that when traveling, it is smart to have my locked screen display my name, email and phone number. I took a picture of this information and set the picture for both my phone and my iPad. (Usually, I have pictures of my grandkids or a pretty Seattle picture). What brilliance. TAKE NOTE and do this when you travel.
But I digress. I went back and forth, Spanish translated into English and vice versa. Antonio was on vacation but spotted an international DHL office where he could ship my iPad. HALLELUJAH. I counted over 50 back and forth emails, over 20 texts trying to figure out how to make this happen and how I could reimburse him for the mailing cost. It was complicated and I won’t bore you with the details. By Wednesday, he took four taxi cabs to mail my package, I wired money through the bank which took over an hour and a lot of red tape and ta-da!
Antonio is such a good person. I am so grateful. I still cannot believe this happened, and that my iPad ended up back with me. Antonio told me in an email that he Googled me (of course he did) and saw I posted recipes from my travels! He wrote, “If you some day return to Mexico City searching for food recipes, come home, my beautiful wife cooks great.”
You got it, Antonio. And if you are ever in Seattle, I’ll treat you to the best food ever. Gracias!! Here is a picture of Antonio’s beautiful family he sent to me.