Nov 16, 2021 | Gilbert's Journal


During the recent trip to Turkey, I experienced the ordeal of missing my flight for the second time in a matter of weeks in two different countries and continents – Kampala, Uganda in East Africa and Istanbul, Turkey in the geopolitical Middle East. What was quite different this time, is that in spite of the illogical reason given to me by the airline for not seeing my name on their system, the experience that followed that night, gave a lot of meaning to my experience.


Prior to the trip, the Turkish embassy in Nigeria had insisted that I must show them a round trip which included the flight from Izmir to Istanbul, which was the last leg after touring by bus to different parts of Turkey. Even though I explained to them that my tour fees had already been paid and covered that last leg by air, they threatened that without the round ticket, I won’t be granted a visa. I was then forced to pay for a second ticket for that leg, to avoid losing all the time and money already invested into the trip. The tour company advised that I should travel with the group, thereby forsaking the Izmir-Istanbul leg of my round ticket. That’s the reason they gave me at the airport for not finding my name on their system – because I didn’t use the Izmir-Istanbul leg of the round ticket, the system automatically cancelled the rest of my trip. I had to pay a penalty of almost $400 to take the next flight before the PCR Test results expire.


When I explained the situation to the tour company in the morning, they graciously accepted to shoulder the extra costs – incredible credit to Tutku Tours! While on the phone with the Tutku Tour Guide, she also mentioned that one of the tour participants was stranded at the airport – having lost her bag with valuables (passport, money, bank cards, house keys, car keys etc.) I asked to be directed to meet her and she was just around the corner. Her smile was still intact when I met her and that really encouraged me. We went to the airline counter as they were preparing for boarding and the flight actually left without her. We were then directed to meet the airport police who ended up searching through their video footage of the activity around the airport.


She wisely insisted that she will not leave the Istanbul International airport to any other place. For the rest of that day, we became like police detectives – the camera footage from the hotel where we all stayed showed that she had boarded the bus with her bag. It took a lot of patience to finally identify the bus’s arrival at the airport, from the video footage. It became obvious from the video that she left the bus without her bag. The police concluded that the bag was in the bus although the driver had supposedly searched the entire bus thrice and didn’t find it.vMany hours later, the police showed up with the bag and the driver. I was a witness on the police report that was written to enable her to get refunds for the second ticket she had to buy to return to Scotland. She nicknamed me “angel Gilbert.


“It became obvious to me that our lives are being recorded with or without our knowledge – God sees our every action and motive. We will all give an account for the lives we have lived. In the same way, we had to rewind the video footages to establish the truth of what happened to her bag, we had just concluded a week’s tour travelling back in time to uncover centuries of biblical history in order to better discern the truth in God’s Word.


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