My youngest sister and her husband live in Bozeman, Montana. He flies a lot for his work and they amass many miles on Delta Airlines. They were taking their kids, my niece Abby, my nephew, Matt, and his wife Tristan, to Paris as a graduation gift for all three, since they had all graduated in the past year. I knew they were all going to Paris, but I lost track of when they were going and how long they would be there. So I emailed my sister to see if they were all in Paris yet and she told me that only she and her husband were there, having gone a week early to get Paris ready for the kids. But the kids would be flying on Tuesday and would arrive in Paris early Wednesday morning.
As I left on my own trip to Asheville, N.C., I was also flying on Tuesday. I was on Delta Airlines heading for the Atlanta Airport. I was chatting with my seatmate on my flight from Tucson. She was going to Africa, but her first stop, after Atlanta was Paris. She was leaving Tuesday afternoon and getting in to Paris early Wednesday morning and she was flying on Delta. This information got me thinking that possibly she would be on the same plane as my relatives. All I knew at that point was that they were flying that same day arriving in Paris early on Wednesday. I didn’t know for sure if they were flying on Delta (but I suspected they were) and I didn’t know if they were flying out of Atlanta. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like the chances were good that they would be in the Atlanta airport. After all, how may Delta planes could there be flying to Paris on Tuesday, arriving early on Wednesday? As my airplane got closer and closer to Atlanta, I became convinced that they were going to be in the Atlanta airport. I got more and more excited about seeing them and thinking about how surprised they would be to see me.
When my plane landed and I could use cell phones again, I called Abby to find out where they were in their travels. It was really kind of magical when she told me they were, indeed, in the Atlanta Airport. At this point they knew that I was traveling that day, but they didn’t know that I was flying into Atlanta. I asked her exactly where they were in the airport and she told me where they were in the international terminal. I told her that my plane had just landed at the airport and that I would find them, so they needed to stay where they were. She couldn’t believe it. Once I got off the plane, I rushed as quickly as I could, through the crowds, on to the train that moves people from terminal to terminal, up the escalator and through the international terminal. I spotted them down a long hall and Abby took off running toward me. It was a great reunion.
The Atlanta Airport is the busiest airport, not only in the U.S. but in the world, at least according to the Internet. What are the chances of family members just happening to be at that airport at the same time? What are the chances of finding those people in that huge airport? If I hadn’t been talking to the lady in the seat next to mine, I don’t think I ever would have figured it all out. So the way that I look at, it was all meant to be. It was indeed a miracle that we all met up, a tiny miracle perhaps, but a miracle nonetheless.