Crisis at the Airport
She was stuck! She knew it; she acknowledged it and was on the verge of tears because of it. Seraphima Milford was stuck at this damn airport. Their group flight was supposed to leave late that evening for the US but she, with what she thought was okay timing, had one more stop to make. In her present state of panic, she didn't even remember what it was that she was going to stop, at the last minute, and see.
She was stuck in Paris. The trip had been, for Seraphima, Sera, a once in a life time kind of trip, even if the people on the tour turned out to be exasperating and the tour itself, too quick and too shallow. It was expensive but Paris had always been her ideal and she scrimped and saved and now she couldn't get home. At least not until tomorrow at the very earliest.
She knew full well that there as no refund on her return trip that she'd bought with that travel group. Now she had to go into debt, and to hear the ticket agents tell it, way into debt for the trip home from Paris. It was going to cost her, her folly was going to cost her another $1,000 for the flight home from Paris.
She'd scurried around the airport and no one seemed able to help her with her crisis. She knew that there were no more flights to be had that evening and her baggage all went with the tour group!
Sera Milford was now on the verge of tears!
Sera taught at the junior high school level. She was a science teacher and loved teaching. The money wasn't great and she really had to scrimp and save in advance to get enough for this trip but her love of teaching was significant.
At 32 years of age, she was a tall, statuesque afro-american woman. She was noticed but had never been very lucky with romantic relationships. She'd had her share of affairs but she seemed to have a knack for seeking out and dating the vain and shallow. Friends of hers recommended the new instant dating sites on the internet but she simply found those repulsive and refused to go in that direction.
Her Paris vacation was to be the treat of a life time. It's not that her salary wasn't ample for her needs but rather that she helped her Momma with her needs. Her Momma was on social security and not much more. It didn't help with all the simple needs and that's where Seraphima was her Momma's true angel.
(Seraphima had two sisters, and, when the story needed to be told, mentioned that her Momma was enamored of angels, and that's why her girls were Seraphima, Angelina and Cherubima. Sera was the oldest and Angelina was now finished with school and out working but her financial efforts were going toward more education for her, so that she could get for herself the kind of life that she wanted. That left, of course, Seraphima to help her Momma and her sister Cherubima.)
As a matter of fact, at that precise moment, Sera was talking on the phone to her Momma. She already told her the tale of 'one last' visit and terrible traffic that made her miss her plane, and was talking about what it was going to take to get her home. Her Momma was upset but because Sera was having a bad time on her Paris vacation with the other people and the tour itself and all, and she knew full well how much the Paris vacation meant to her.
Sera was sitting at a small seating area, where there was only one man but he was facing the other way, and Sera was making sure that she didn't talk too loud.
The man facing the other way was John Tyler, the CEO of an international conglomerate called 'Tyler Holding'. He had inherited it from his Dad but long before his Dad's unfortunate early death, he had partnered with him and learned the business. In fact, his Dad was very clear about the fact that John, or Johnnie, as he sometimes liked to call him, was a fair genius at the kind of business that they were doing. He had proved his worth in the business many times over.
At that moment, John was waiting for his assistant to come back so that they could go ahead and have a late dinner before leaving on their return flight to the US via one of the company jets. He was also, it needs to be admitted, listening to the soft voice of the woman behind him relate, apparently to her Momma, the problems that she was having.
In the course of his waiting for Suzanne, his assistant and person about everything, he picked up the information that this woman, he still hadn't seen her, had missed her group flight because she wanted to make one last visit and hadn't reckoned with Paris traffic. He also discovered that the extra ticket home was going to be a budget breaker for the woman, though she kept on reassuring her Momma that she could afford it. John knew enough about people and even tones of voice that he could readily see through the statements about this woman being okay with the extra expenditure.
As he was listening, and ostensibly working on his laptop, he heard the woman ring off the conversation:
"Yes, Momma," she said, "This phone is about to give out; I only bought it when I got here and have only a little bit of time left on it. I will contact you as soon as I know what's going to happen. Yes, I love you, Momma! No, I wont' fall apart here; I'm making a supreme effort to stay calm despite my own folly. Yes, Momma, I understand. I love you lots, say 'hello' to Cheri and Angie for me."
The woman, at that point, rang off and sighed a deep sigh.
"Way to go, Sera," she said to herself, "You've put your foot in it this time!"
It was then that John Tyler got up and turned around. The woman only glanced at him and kind of nodded her head. John was struck. The woman was a very good looking afro-american. She had curly kind of hair and, despite her terrible situation, seemed to be fairly under control.
"Excuse me, Ms," John said.
Sera looked up at him with a wary look on her face.
"I'm sorry if it seems as though I was eavesdropping," he went on, "But I heard you talking to your Mother about being stranded here at the Paris airport."
She just nodded and was even more wary.
"I was wondering if I might help!" he asked.
"How?" she asked, her voice very reserved.
"I'm sorry for being so dense," he said then, "My name is John Tyler; here's my card."
He handed her a business card that announced that he was CEO of 'Tyler Holding'.
She read it; nodded and waited.
"May I ask where you were going?" he said.
"Chicago," she said softly.
"Ah," he said, "My destination too. Well, let me tell you," he said after a hesitation, "I'm flying to Chicago on one of my company planes and we have extra room, if you would like to tag along."
Sera's eyes became very wide at that point. The look of indecision was completely obvious on her face.
"Of course," he said, "I don't blame you! I might be a slaver hoping to whisk you away to some mid eastern country."
Sera actually giggled, when he said that.
"I assure you that I'm not," he said. "Here, let me show you."
He got out his laptop and turned it on, making his way to the 'Tyler Holding' page. There was his picture as the CEO and a lot about the company. Sera looked at it and then looked up at him. She realized that she was feeling better already but she still didn't know what to do.
"I'm not trying to make time with you, seduce you or anything like that!" he said.
"Your wife might object!" Sera put in at that point.
"Sorry, no wife to object!" he said, "But if my Mom caught me being disrespectful to a lady, she would have kicked my butt!"
Sera grinned at that. Just then a voice hailed him and said:
"All done, boss!"
Sera and John both looked up as a woman was coming up to them.
"Suzanne," he said, "This lady is stranded at the airport, having missed her flight back to Chicago. I'm suggesting that she take a ride with us, since we have the room. She is naturally hesitant. I'm going to the men's. While I'm gone would you please answer her questions about me so that she realizes that this is a legitimate offer?"
"Of course, Mr T," she said, grinning at him.
"No, no," he said, "No 'boss' and no 'Mr T'!"
"Yes, boss," Suzanne said with a grin.
John turned then to Sera and said, "But you know me and I don't know you."
She stuck out her hand and said: "Seraphima Milford!"
"Like the angels!" John said with a grin.
"Exactly," she answered, "My Momma loves angels; I have sisters Angelina and Cherubima!" She was grinning, when she said that.
"Well, at least they are high ranks of angels!" John said and grinned back at her.
"Seraphima," he began, and she interrupted to say: "Sera!"
"Yes, Sera," he said, "This is my hench-person, Suzanne Wheeler, who is, as you've noticed, impudent!"
Suzanne grinned at him and shook Sera's extended hand.
"Okay, girls, I'm off to the men's," he said, "Talk to one another. Sera, if we can help here, we will." Turning to Suzanne he said, "Suzi, please show her your page on the web site."
"Will do, boss!" she said with a huge grin.
He smiled then and walked away toward the men's room, just shaking his head.
Suzanne sat and asked Sera about her predicament.
Sera was forthcoming about it, happy at this point to have a 'friend' nearby. She told Suzanne about the 'one last visit' and her not having counted on the traffic in Paris.
"Yes, it's a beast!" Suzanne agreed.
Then she spoke about her futile efforts to find a flight back to the US at this time in the day.
"They are either booked or there simply aren't any possibilities," Sera said.
She did begin to sob at that point.
.... There is more of this story ...