An Angel In An Unexpected Place
By Gabrielle Blair
Peculiar travel arrangements are dancing lessons from God — Kurt Vonnegut
He wasn’t that young - late fifties perhaps. We were late arriving at Mexico City, our plane having been delayed in Toronto for nearly an hour. We knew it would be tight crossing from Terminal 1 to 2 for our connection to Guadalajara. To add to our distress, the conveyer belt had broken down, so instead of our luggage being automatically transported to Aero Mexico, allowing us to hop on the rapid train transit, we were forced to take the slow bus, heaving four heavy suitcases and hand luggage with us.
His hair was grey, his eyes sparkled and with a winning smile, he heaved all the luggage onto his cart and rushed with us to the check-in counter. Too late! “So sorry, but the cut-off time for boarding with luggage is forty minutes!” We had got there with only thirty-five minutes to spare. No matter. Still smiling, trundling the luggage and with the two of us in toe, we headed for the Aero Mexico booking counter to change our tickets for the next flight. “So sorry! We can’t help you. You booked through Air Canada. You must go back to terminal 1 and get Air Canada to change your tickets.”
He rushes with us to the lockers where we leave the luggage. Porters are not allowed on the inter-terminal trains, so we board the bus again. At terminal 1, we find that the Air Canada office closed 3 hours ago and won’t open until the next day at 6 a.m. We’re getting desperate, but he is not. He helps us find a pay phone. It won’t accept our credit cards. He waits while I buy a phone card, waits while I call to delay our ride that was just leaving Ajijic to pick us up.
“What did you do before becoming a porter?” I venture to ask this kindly gentleman. “I was a notary public”. Even with our poor Spanish, we understand that three years ago the firm went broke. The pay’s bad but he’s been a porter ever since.
We board the bus for the third time in three hours. Back at terminal 2, he accompanies us to the Aero Mexico booking office where we buy two new tickets. “Take it up with Air Canada”, they say. “They may reimburse you.”
He accompanies us to the lockers and hauls the luggage to Departures. “What’s your name?” I ask him “Miguel Angel”, he smiles and points to his name tag. We tip him very well and with gratitude he hugs us and fervently crosses himself. Perhaps the whole point of this seemingly futile exercise was to have the privilege of spending three hours with the Airport Angel.