Stranded

That One Chick #15

When I was a teenager,  coming home from a trip to the Middle East, a friend and I got stranded in Holland for four days. It could have been fun, but in anticipation of actually leaving the country on Saturday morning, we spent all our Dutch money–therefore had no food for that whole time. We had to live at the airport until we could get a flight out.  Being stand-by passengers in a foreign country, we held the same status as charity or non-paying passengers. In other words–we were considered the lowest of the low. Each time we got to the front of the line to get a boarding pass, the agent would say, “Paying customers first. Go to the end of the line.” With this method, we missed every flight out for four days.

It was a pretty strange situation because they had no water facets and you had to pay the janitors a tip just to use the restroom and again, we had no money–none. We had to wait until about 4am for the janitor to leave and then sneak in and drink from the sink facet, using our hands as cups.

By Tuesday morning we were pretty dang hungry so we slipped into the airport restaurant and waited until a fancy looking businessman finished his meal and went out. We rushed over and ate everything that he left behind. Even the parsley garnish tasted wonderful. We somehow pulled it off without being noticed and slipped back out to the airport. It was something at least.

That night when we finally got out and onto a plane headed to New York we were both so hungry and thirsty that when the flight attendant came by with the drink cart and peanuts, we both started to cry.

Cold, clean water never tasted so good.

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15 Replies to “Stranded”

  1. How did you last for 4 days w/ no food? I bet you were never so glad to be back home and sit down to a meal and water. Oh, and a shower. Glad you survived and can blog about it now. 🙂

  2. That was the thing–the airport people thought the whole situation was funny. They’d see us sleeping on the couch and stand there making fun of us and laughing. I just couldn’t imagine treating people that way. They totally knew that they were making us miss the flights–but they didn’t care. It was a long time ago, so maybe it isn’t like that now, but they did not like Americans. It was scary because we had to wonder if it was possible to actually starve to death right there in front of thousands of people.

  3. Oh poor girly. I would have done the same thing. Glad it wasn’t any longer than that though…it could have been really dangerous.

  4. It was a real eye-opener for me. I really had no idea that so much of the world just like us for no other reason than that we are Americans. We got lost in England and pulled over and asked for help and they just laughed at us and said, “Well good luck.” It made us really sad.

  5. Paying to use the bathroom really sucks. I’ve really been enjoying these posts about you. I’m learning so much. And I’m glad you got home before you starved to death or I might not have ever known you. That would be sad in deed.

  6. I think this story is just awful. It reminds me that we can get into little social bubbles and think everywhere else is just like where we live… and that’s SOOO not the case. I’m glad that you made it home safely and it didn’t turn out like “The Terminal”. 😉 Ha ha ha!

  7. Well you don’t have to use the restroom much when you haven’t eaten in days. So that is one good thing about it.

    Do you realize that I met you when I was 12? That was a long time ago man. We are indeed ancient friends.

  8. Well, and I could more easily see this happening in a 3rd world country–but no this was a very modern place. At the time, they were just very, very mean. I wish I understood it. Jacob says they aren’t so much like that now.

  9. you are my hero.
    that sounds so scary.
    i would have had a nervous meltdown and cried my head off right there in the airport.

  10. And I thought it was scary/rough having no access to funds on my internship… at least I was with people who fed me!

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