Do you believe in coincidences? Do you believe everything happens for a reason? As my other blog entry about reuniting with my old friend illustrated, I’m a believer in this area, how life happens for us, not to us. The past few years I’m noticing what I’d call “happy coincidences”, occurrences I can’t fully explain but I can’t help but smile about. I’m not talking about anything paranormal, but occurrences that make me think that the odds of them happening were so slim. Nonetheless, they happened.
I’ll share with you another example. Two weeks ago I was on my way to London to do some volunteer work. I’d never visited London, let alone traveled to Europe by myself, so a lot of Firsts were going to happen for me on this trip! Little did I expect an additional First that I wasn’t even expecting!
The day of the trip, I anxiously packed my bags, got driven to O’Hare airport, stepped onto the Norwegian Airline plane, and traveled 4000 miles across the world to London’s Gatwick Airport. Minus my new sleeping accommodations, I was so anxious I could hardly sleep on the plane. By the time we had arrived at the airport, I was needless to say a bit dazed and drowsy!
As I stepped off the plane, it was now 10am in London. Still in my half-awake mode, I grabbed my bags at the baggage claim and went straight to Customs so I could enter the UK. I believe I waited in the line there about 2 hours, but given my sleepy mood I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say it was at least an hour. It was one of those long lines where the airport had it set up to zig-zag throughout the room. It was one of those lines where every 30 seconds everyone took a step forward except you because you likely weren’t paying attention. It was one of those lines where you could look at the crevices in the floor and write a bestselling novel about them before you reached the front. Long story short, the line took a while.
And here’s where it happened.
I was waiting in line, rubbing my eyes with one hand and holding my baggage in the other. I’m looking to see where the front of the line is, and then to the back to see how much longer the line has extended since I got in it. And then I see him. I see a taller gentleman with a woman. At first I’m unsure, but then I have this feeling in stomach that I know who he is. This person that was about a dozen people behind me in line was someone I use to work with.
I remember my body feeling tense, because in my mind I debating whether or not I should ask and confirm it was him. The part of me that was saying not to do had a valid point: What is the possibility I’d really run into someone I knew from a different state, from 10 years ago, 4000 miles away from home, in the same country, in the same airport, and in the same room?
It was him. He was just as surprised as I was. We honestly didn’t know what to make of this surprise reunion. He noted how he vaguely recognized me, but he remembered. We briefly spoke, we gave each other our farewells, and we went on our way. This person, I worked with him 10 years ago at a summer camp. I barely knew him at the time then too, but I never forgot his face. As I got to the front of the line and walked out of Customs, I started smiling to myself: The possibility of that happening happened…
I had many great memories on my trip, and this was just one that continues to stick out to me. 🙂