Few days back, as I sat in a coffee shop late at night doing my reading for the week, I got a call from a friend. We were went to the same high school and ended up attending the same junior college, practically as ‘bench-mates’. We came to the United States on the same flight; also on adjacent seats. After that we were briefly in touch and after a major spat, broke off all contact for the next five years. Recently we happened to make up and resumed our friendship although things weren’t the same again. He happened to be in Houston when I moved to College Station but he has now moved to Toledo, Ohio.
So getting back to the call, he asked me if I still knew someone in Atlanta. The problem was that his roommate’s friend’s mom was stuck in Atlanta airport and had no place to spend the night apart from the uncomfortable rows of seats near the terminal gate. To make matters worse, she was a middle-aged lady traveling outside of India for the first time and had no clue about airline delays. She seemed petrified in a foreign country and refused to accept hotel accommodation until her flight the next afternoon. I said, of course I had friends in Atlanta who could probably help. I called up my ex-roomies but no one picked up the phone.
I called up another friend and she happened to be in Washington. She told me that she can ask her roommate to help and would call me back in a while. She called back almost immediately and asked me to call her roommate in Atlanta with the details. I called up my friend in Ohio to get the details; he then called up his roommate who in turn called up his friend to get them. After the long chain of calls, I conveyed the necessary information to my friend’s roommate in Atlanta. It would need her to go to the airport at almost 11:30pm and request the airport officials to fetch the old lady from either of the two gates she was supposed to be at (mind you, she couldn’t be contacted directly). My part of the work done, I hoped that everything would work out fine.
The next morning, after I called to enquire, my friend (in Ohio) told me that everything went smoothly and my friend’s (in Atlanta) roommate had been magnanimous in not only picking up the lady but also dropped her back at the airport the following afternoon. Awesome! I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief at the long chain of people that were involved in helping one poor lady in distress. Truly, the desi network in the United States rocks.