Today, what I thought it would be a long day turned out to be all right.
Arrived back to Sydney from Melbourne at 7.25pm and trying to soak in all the emotions and remembering everything about the domestic airport – the transportation hub I call my third home. A place I travel pass every fortnight. Travelling was a perk and I really enjoyed.
As I was coming down the escalator exiting the terminal, clutching onto my phone ready to drop Vik a text that I’m out. A stranger approached asking if I was Korean (i do get that a lot), unfortunately, I told them the truth “Sorry, I’m not. But how can I help you?” As she looked really lost.
Turns out, there was an old man that looked 75, lost, panicking and spoke only Korean. I looked around hoping to spot a Korean and trying to be as helpful as I could, we could not find anyone.
So here we are, an Australian mom with her 14-year-old daughter who clearly just arrived Sydney. A virgin airline cabin crew who looked like she had a long day and can’t wait to take off those heels and be in bed, an travel information counter lady who did not know how she could help and me, an Asian lady who wished at the moment spoke Korean.
Scrambling our ends, we looked at each other trying to figure out how we can get him to talk to us and communicate. Google translate wouldn’t work cause it would require two young person who knows how to use it. So the easiest was to call someone who spoke Korean and pass the phone since we could not grab anyone.
I called the three Korean friends that I knew while the 14-year-old girl said she met this Korean boy who was his age but not sure if he could be any help. The 14-year-old Korean boy picked up and was immediately chatting with the old man. After 30 minutes of the mum trying to tell the boy what answers to get and what to tell him, we were still lost and they had to go.
By then, we found out a few things
– He missed his flight to Gold Coast
– He is from Korea and is visiting
– He was in a group and was left alone
– He wants to call someone and wrote down a number
– He is searching for his bag
– He doesn’t know anyone that speaks English or Mandarin
So we needed to figure out how he got here, obviously, the travel agent would need to know English or SOMEONE?
5 minutes later, we are at the Virgin Service desk, we found his bag and has confirmed he missed his flight.
So I called my friend who was super nice and patient to talk to this guy (bear in mind, this guy is on leave, back in Korean, preparing for his wedding that is in two days)
After another 30 minutes, here is what we found out
– He insists that he needs to go to Gold Coast
– He was travelling with a group of people who are on the flight and he wants to wait for them to arrive to call them to confirm what to do next.
– He has an assumption that his flights and everything’s covered.
My friend then told me there is only so much that can be done, and I said I need to go, and he said just go. As I was about to leave, the old man came up to me and started speaking Korean to me and I already feel really bad that my friend was on the phone with him for 12 minutes, so I didn’t want to bug the guy. He then used his hands and body to tell me something, and he looked like he was about to cry.
It was the hardest guessing game ever. I guessed
– was he kicked out?
– was he angry and he left?
Something must’ve happened, and he then wrote Korean on a piece of paper which I had NO IDEA. He then wrote 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – NUMBERS. Yes, numbers! But what do those numbers mean?
Then he said out loud “일, 이, 삼, 사, 오” which means one, two, three, four, five.
I was so confused! He wrote the number 6-10, but said out loud 1-5. Well, pretty much what I can count in Korean. LOL but that didn’t help!
He then kept saying 친구 (chingu), he kept repeating the word. And I’m like I know this word. I’ve learnt this word and I can’t remember what it means. It’s on the TV drama shows, my friend taught me. But I just can’t remember! He pointed at the numbers and said it, pointed at my phone and me and said that. Then my friend called and he was excited and repeated it. I had to ask my friend what 친구 (chingu) means, and he said “friend” and I’m like okay, he wants to talk to my friend. So I passed him my phone.
Just then, I heard a guy, speaking Korean, walking pass behind me. I turned and ran in my heels and grabbed this guy by his arm. (you guys should’ve seen his face. LOL) I said to him “Do you speak English?” he said yes. and I immediately was a relief and said “OMG. Can you please help?”
Turns out. This guy was actually looking for this old man, and they don’t even know each other!
The random Korean guy I grabbed. He looked like this.
80% lookalike. That guy could pull off as his double 😂
So apparently this old man’s friend could not get to him, and they called someone’s friend to ask someone a favour to go to the airport to look for this poor lost man who missed his flight and spoke no English.
After 1.5 hours, the old man finally had some relief he had some help and I had to go as Vik was STILL waiting for me. I tapped the guy’s shoulder and said “I’m sorry, could you please tell him I’m sorry I have to go and I hope everything works out. and thank you”
I don’t know what happened in the end though. I hope everything worked out for him.