One of the most serendipitous things to ever happen to us occurred, in of all places, an airport. A lot of you would say that knowing us, maybe that's not so much of a chance occurrence. But think of the odds of something like this happening. Though no prior planning, no communication, no knowledge of timeline or itineraries - we bumped into my aunt and uncle in the Lufthansa terminal of the Frankfurt am Main Airport in Frankfurt, Germany.
My aunt and uncle, who reside in California and happen to be a pair of our marriage sponsors, were returning home from a vacation to Egypt. Their layover from Cairo was in Frankfurt, with an onward journey to Los Angeles.
Carolyn and I have made our home Texas in recent years. We were on a return trip from our two-and-a-half week trip to Saudi Arabia. Our itinerary called for a connection in Frankfurt from Jeddah to continue on to Houston.
Coincidentally, we were all flying Lufthansa. Coincidentally, we had layovers in Frankfurt at around the same time in the same terminal with departure gates within eyesight of each other.
While waiting in line to get into the Lufthansa Business Lounge, I spotted a woman with an uncanny resemblance in stature and looks as my dear aunt. As it was quite early in the morning, I kind of had to rub my eyes and do a double-check. She was speedily walking along by herself on her way to check out the duty-free shop while waiting for her flight when I spotted her. It's strange how quick my recognition of her was in a sea of people criss-crossing the terminal of a very busy airport. It's not like she was wearing anything that really stood out. It's like the scene in The Matrix where Neo is in a crowd of people walking in the same direction seemingly all wearing black and then all of a sudden there's a woman who is wearing Corvette red and walking in the opposite direction. That's how quick the recognition happened.
But in terms of how sure I was, I'd say it was like 70-80% certainty. It was the kind of recognition where you think to yourself, I'm going to call out her name and if she turns, then that's definitely her. But if she doesn't then I'll just pretend I never said anything and put my head back down and wait patiently.
When I called out, though, she turned! And she was as stunned as I was. We quickly recited our layover situations and then she walked us over to see my uncle who was close to the gate. When he caught a glimpse of us from afar walking towards him, he was just as surprised and happy to see us too. Needless to say we chatted until the first of our flights had to depart.
A chance encounter like that is so much fun. The geek in me would imagine the probability but fail to compute it. The traveler in me hopes to have more run-ins like that in the future with others we know.
It just goes to show that it’s a small world after all. Keeps your eyes open.