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We Got Stuck in the Dubai Airport and a Stranger Flew Across the World With My Son’s Birth Certificate

We were waiting in line with our toddler at the airport gate in Dubai for our interconnecting flight to South Africa when we started to feel like something might be off. A gentleman with three young children up ahead of us was waving his hands around while talking to the gate agent. He looked like his blood pressure was through the roof.

As we approached, we discovered what all the fuss was about. “May I see your son’s birth certificate?” a staff member asked.

I was confused. I handed over my son’s passport, and said that surely, that had to be enough. However, it wasn’t.

We needed his birth certificate to get on the plane

The employee explained that all minors traveling through any South African port of entry must have an unabridged birth certificate or an equivalent document due to human trafficking in the region.

We stood there incredulous. Tired and depleted, we stepped aside with the other family and waited. By this point, our travel plans had already been shuffled around, and we were at the end of our tether.

The day before, our flight from Melbourne, Australia, to Dubai had been diverted to a nearby city for several hours due to a fog weather phenomenon, and we’d missed our interconnecting flight to Cape Town, South Africa.

When we finally arrived at the airport in Dubai, we waited five hours for our flights to be rebooked. There were two women processing an entire flight’s worth of new bookings.

On several occasions, we asked staff members for water for our toddler and were told, “Sure, we’ll be right back with that.” They never returned.

Eventually, our flights were rebooked. We had a few hours’ sleep in a hotel, then at 1 am, we made our way back to the airport. We thought our ordeal was finally almost over; that’s when we were asked for his birth certificate.

In a panic, we called a friend in Australia and asked him to break into our house, retrieve the birth certificate from our filing cabinet, and send us a scanned copy. He did it. But even that wasn’t enough. We were told it had to be certified by the South African embassy in Australia.

We watched miserably as the gate closed and our flight departed. For the next 14 hours, we waited in the transit area with our one-year-old, feeling like we were being pranked. An employee would say they were looking into our case, only to walk off and never be seen again. It felt as though we’d never get out of there.

I put out a call for help, and it was answered

In desperation, I put out a mayday call on social media to see if anyone could help us.

We happened to have a friend who was an airline hostess living in Dubai. We got in touch with her, and a colleague of hers happened to be staying in Melbourne and would be departing for Dubai within hours. If we could get her the original birth certificate, she would carry it across the world for us.

With the clock ticking, my sister-in-law floored it across Melbourne to the hotel where our friend’s colleague was staying, ran in, and in the nick of time, handed over the document to her, just as she was boarding her bus to the airport.

The next day, a stranger whom I had never met before handed over our son’s original birth certificate at Dubai airport. I hugged her tight, tears streaming down my face, and thanked her. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to anyone in my life.

We made it to South Africa and ended up having a great family holiday. I’ve never forgotten the kindness of that stranger who came to our rescue — our angel in the sky.

Source : Business Insider