By Cassidy Campbell |
About five weeks ago I had no idea why I was on this trip.
On May 29, my team and I met at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. We were so excited about the adventure that awaited us. Sadly, our original plans were altered due to weather in Philadelphia. We were supposed to depart from DFW around noon, fly to Philly, then fly to Prague. There were no flights taking off or landing in the city, so we were forced to find an alternative. After a few hours of sitting by bag check in, we finally got plans set. Half of our team had to fly to London and the other half had to fly to Spain. From there, we would all meet at our destination, Prague.
Eight of us were in the Spain group. I was so excited to start the journey and head to Europe for the next five weeks. We were going to have a few hours in the airport, and if the layover was longer than we expected, we could possibly explore the city for a few hours. The eight of us went to our gate and saw the Baylor in Madrid study abroad trip so we spent some time talking with them at the gate.
Then the storms in Dallas started. There were tornado warnings and insane amounts of rain. Delay after delay after delay, we realized if we flew to Spain, we would miss our connecting flight to Prague. No matter how badly I wanted to enjoy a few hours in Spain, we had to change our flight yet again.
We found open seats on a later flight to London. The other half of our team finally left DFW around 7 p.m. The other eight of us and Susanne Parrish finally left around 9 p.m. Almost 12 hours sitting in the DFW airport, our adventure awaited us!
We got settled on the plane, ate dinner and finally started to doze off. I had a lot of anxiety and fear about this flight, and randomly started to cry. I prayed for peace and for a solid 6 hours of sleep. I finally fell asleep to a relaxing playlist.
Suddenly, I was awakened by the screams of flight attendants. “CODE RED. CODE RED.”
I opened my eyes and saw the flight attendants running up and down the aisles around me.
I instantly prepared for a plane crash. I had no doubt that our plane was about to go straight down. I asked Sammy, who was sitting to my left, what was happening.
She told me that something happened to the middle-aged man sitting in the seat directly in front of me. The flight attendants had to him lay in the aisle to the left of me. They began CPR and continued to scream and run around the plane. No one knew what was happening. After what felt like an eternity, the lights in the plane went red and someone came over the intercom asking for medical assistance. We were still not clear what happened to the man, just that he was in critical condition.
After an hour of CPR, prayers and tears from everyone on the plane, we finally made our emergency landing in Canada around 2 a.m. The medics and police officers ran onto the plane and began more CPR. I had no idea whether this man was still alive.
Two hours later the man was finally taken off the plane. We left Canada shortly after the man was taken off. We thought everything that could have possibly gone wrong today, did.
When we landed in London we found out the man on the flight had died. I did not know what to think of this or how to process my emotions. I had just witnessed something I never thought I would.
I kept wondering what God’s purpose in this was. Why had everything gone wrong during our travel day? Why was the weather so bad in Philly and Dallas? Why were our flights delayed and changed so many times? Why was I put on this flight to London?
We finally got to Prague, and to no surprise, all our bags were lost between the immense number of delays and cancellations. So, even though we had been traveling for almost 24 hours, we had no change of clothes, toothbrush or toothpaste, or deodorant.
I kept asking why this trip started so terribly.
We finally arrived at the hotel, got a good night of sleep and a shower, and woke up the next morning for a day jam packed with activities and tours.
Our bags took two days to get to us in Prague which meant my team saw me in the same shirt and pair of shorts for about 72 hours.
Five weeks later and I still don’t fully understand why we had this awful travel experience. I am still shocked I saw a man die right in front of my eyes. But in hindsight, I realize not everything will go perfectly in life. Our team had a lot of worse-case scenarios happen to us, but I do not think any of us would change anything about this experience. We learned teamwork through a challenging six-hour hike. Some students had to learn to adapt living abroad with a broken laptop and lost phone. We learned patience through hours of flight delays and cancellations.
Life will never go the way we plan, but five weeks later and I realize that there is always good that comes from the speedbump’s life throws at us.