So I was in the depths of despair at the airport gate. I had to calm down and start figuring out what I was going to do next. Many phone calls later I found myself sitting in the airport I was supposed to be flying out of waiting for my sister to pick me up again.
My only option was to wait until the following day and catch the same flight again. It’s not easy to find alternative flights out of a place like Hawaii… they only do so many a day. So, I spent one more night at my sister’s place and then headed to the airport the next morning a good four and a half hours early this time!
When I landed in San Francisco I was supposed to be switching airlines and making a connecting flight to Minneapolis. Well, that flight was’t happening again until Sunday (it was Friday). So, I waited at the airport and had planned to attempt to fly standby for a different airline which would take me to Dallas and then to Minneapolis. This gate was busy but there were a few open seats on the plane. I had no idea what kind of chances I had of getting on that plane were. I just knew I wanted to get home and the sooner the better.
As an anxious mom missing her kids and flying alone, sitting at that gate waiting to find out if I would make it on or not was agonizing. And sure enough… I did not get on.
It was then around midnight in San Francisco. I was so worked up and anxious that I wasn’t feeling tired. Plus, on Hawaiian time it was only a few hours earlier. I ended up walking around the airport, finding random quiet places to sit and read. Then I went to a coffee shop that was open all night and got a salad and a tea at 2:00am. Bless my dad who was awake during the night in Minnesota texting me and encouraging me when everyone else I knew was sleeping. I did some more reading and then when Nick was waking up I talked to him on the phone about everything that happened.
At about 4:30am I started calling hotels. But see… you don’t check into a hotel room at 5am with no notice… you have to pay for that night, so technically speaking I was needing two nights! I was getting tired and wanted to get out of the airport. I called several hotels nearby, explained my situation and none of them had open rooms or would let me check in that early.
So, I picked a hotel… and I just booked for the next night knowing that I had about 10 hours before I “technically” was supposed to check in. After I booked and paid for the room I got the airport shuttle to the hotel and showed up at the front desk.
I told the guy at the front desk, “I know I’m not supposed to check in this early but I just had to get out of the airport. I am happy to hang out in the lobby here and wait for a room to open up if something becomes available before my check in time.”
He replied, “Don’t tell anyone… but we have a room with a King size bed on the 8th floor open, here ya go.” And he handed me a room key, right then and there – at 5:30am! I swear he was an angel sent from above. I almost started crying!
“Wow. Thank you so much. You have no idea how thankful I am. This is the first thing that’s gone right in the last 2 days!” is what I said back.
In the midst of my distress, my agonizing to be home with my family, my exhaustion and loneliness, God gave me a nice big hotel room on the 8th floor with a view of the Bay for the price of 1 night that I got to check into 10 hours early.
I burst into tears just weeping and praising God for his provision in taking care of me. I felt humiliated that I had been so distraught and upset over the turn of events and I hadn’t been resting in God’s sovereignty the way I should have. I will never forget that moment I cuddled into the waffle robe after taking a hot shower and sank into that delicious bed thinking how undeserved I was of that gift, thinking how God orchestrated all of it just to take care of me.
I slept like a rock and went to bed around 6 in the morning. I woke up around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I was still tired and felt like I could sleep more. However, I knew this was an opportunity to see a little bit of San Francisco while I was there. So I got ready and took a Lyft ride to the city.
The next few hours were so fun and exciting. My Lyft drivers were all very friendly and informative. The architecture and sights of the city and the bay were stunning. I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge, a beautiful Cathedral, and have a virtual guided tour of the Fairmont Hotel! (Also, huge thank you to my cousin who unknowingly became another instrument and blessing of God’s provision for me that day!) It was a joy to get a short but sweet taste of life and culture and the beauty of San Francisco.
After sleeping that night for only like 2 hours (jet lagged maybe?) I headed back to the airport… again like 4 hours early (when nothing was open yet! Anxious much!?) and awaited my second (or was it third?) chance to get home. It was Sunday morning, Mother’s Day. I was the first person to get checked in at the airline gate and the last one to get on the plane. But I did get on that plane. The airline agent chuckled at me as he recognized me from checking in at 4:00am sharp and then I saw him wave a friendly goodbye to me as I sat in my window seat.
The flight was okay. I tried to sleep but it was hard to get comfortable. But when that plane landed I felt so much relief and couldn’t wait to see Nick and the kids. I got to see Nick first as he met me at the airport. Then we went to my parents house where we reunited with the kids. We hugged, I cried, and we talked and then we napped. Then we went home.
God certainly grew my faith in some unexpected ways during this trip. What was supposed to be a fun, relaxing memory ended up being much more. Even though it was rough to experience and I hope nothing like that ever happens again, there was beauty in the chaos and God showed up so many times.