Your story is priceless. It is powerful. Here is a little story that stopped an airplane which demonstrates the power of the story and sharing it.
It all started when I left for Ireland from Germany to meet up with my college group that had flown there from America. This was all in the “dark ages” of communication before cell phones, text messaging or even emails. We made special arrangements for my flight to arrive in Dublin several hours ahead of my group. In theory this was a good plan, but back then if one thing went wrong an entire plan could be destroyed.
The part of the story that mattered the most at the time was that it was critical that I arrive on time because there was no contingency plan for if I didn’t meet my group at the airport in Dublin. I would have been stranded in a foreign country with no way to contact my missing group.
My flight out of Munich was delayed for security reasons. We got on and off the plane over and over again for security guards to search the plane. We stood out on the tarmac and were asked to claim our carry-on bags and checked-in luggage. Dogs paced up and down our line up in search of bombs or drugs – I wasn’t really sure which. This part didn’t bother me at all. I was accustomed to standing around while men in uniform with machine guns looked for bombs. The thorough search was comforting to me. It was the time delay that was making me panic. The flight ended up leaving Munich so late that I arrived in London far past my connecting flight. I was directed to get my luggage, go through customs and go to the front counter to catch another flight. Once I passed customs I started running through the airport. I begged my way to the front of the line by telling everyone in front of me my story. I was on the verge of arriving in Dublin after my group with no emergency plan to find them.
At the front of the line I explained my situation again. The woman at the counter found one flight leaving in 15 minutes. If I missed it I could not catch another flight until the next day. I had all of my luggage with me and it would take a miracle for me to catch that flight.
This is where the power of my plight moved people to take extraordinary measures. The clerk actually shut down her line, picked up my bags and started running with me to the security guards that were checking passports. She explained my situation all the way through passports and security. Everyone expedited me through the system, while she chanted ‘hurry, hurry, hurry’ and as I cleared their area they all joined in.
I ran carrying all of my bags from there to the gate. When I arrived, the gate was closed and the plane had already taxied away. I gasped for air as I explained in desperation that I had to be on the plane and told my story again. Even the gatekeeper took pity on me and called the pilot to tell him my story. Much to my surprise, the pilot actually stopped the plane on the runway and waited.
A car was sent to pick me and my luggage up and drive me down the runway to the waiting plane. I ran down to a car while a crew raced out to open up the luggage area and bring a set of stairs out for me to board the plane. When I reached the car the driver got out to assist me as I piled my bags into the trunk with great relief. I jumped into the car and waited expectantly.
The driver came around and knocked on my window. My heart sunk as I was certain something had changed. He motioned for me to roll down the window. As I rolled it down he kindly asked, “Are you planning on driving there yourself?” I glanced down and realized I was sitting in the driver’s seat and hadn’t even noticed. I was in London where the passenger’s side was on the left side.
I was laughing so hard I could barely compose myself as I boarded the plane. I was the only one laughing until I loudly explained my story to the man next to me and the glares stopped. I did manage to arrive just in time to catch the last of my group clearing customs. No one could believe that I had managed to convince so many people to join my race to the plane. They especially couldn’t believe that a pilot stopped his plane on the runway to wait for me. But it happened. This is a true story.
It was the telling of my story that brought everyone to their feet to help me reach my goal.
What Is Your Story?
Tell your story and things that you never imaged will happen in your world. Whoever would have thought that all the people that can hold you up at an airport would instead jump right into the race with you? Your stories inspire us all. Your story can help someone else find comfort that they are not alone. What is your story?