In my last post, I outlined the way my Milanese attorneys had conjured a way to fleece me. It wasn’t particularly brilliant or creative, but they most certainly were going to give it a shot. I’d like to say I was shocked – SHOCKED!! – but that would be a lie. Through almost two years, I had taken enough right hooks and body blows of misfortune to render me numb. This latest development was just one more situation to figure my way through. I knew I would.
While I waited for a response to my email telling my attorneys to “stick it”, I plunged into probably the biggest event of my new job’s year. There couldn’t have been a better distraction as I had no time to dwell on the many scenarios a battle for $$ half-way around the world would bring to my life. I had people to meet, events to conduct and a task list as long as my person. And as soon as the event was over, I found myself sprinting through the Phoenix SkyHarbor Airport, desperate to catch one of the last flights to New York before cancellation due to an impending snowstorm in the NY region.
The airport was a scene. Fans from the previous night’s football championship were clogging the lines, flight cancellations were rolling in..and alas, my US Airways flight was nixed. Somehow, I refused to accept this fate, and I called my company’s travel agent, imploring her to help me as if the dozens of my coworkers in the same predicament did not exist. About 30 minutes into our chat, she alerted me to ONE SEAT LEFT on a departing JetBlue flight.; I had 15 minutes to make it to the other side of the airport. And so began what I consider to be one of my greatest athletic feats in my 30-something years. Carrying two suitcases and two shoulder bags, I plowed my way through the airport out to the shuttle bus wait area. No sports fan was left untouched. I hit hips, arms, shoulders and God help you if you were sitting stretched out on the floor. I leapt over and ducked under queue stanchions, and even abandoned one of my bags en route. I arrived at the JetBlue terminal dripping wet, asthmatic and totally triumphant.
Wheezing, I took my dreaded middle seat with a smile stretched ear to ear. A happier gal, there was not. I greeted my seatmates, apologized for the wheezing, and got on with it. Turns out the reason the plane was taking off was the JetBlue CEO was on board (he greeted me at the plane door) and he needed to be home too. I quietly saluted the CEO for this avant guard approach to snowstorms, sank into my chair, and looked out the window. In doing so, I caught the smile of the gentleman next to me and we exchanged niceties. Normally, I’m pretty anti-social on flights, but I was so darn pleased with myself, I felt buoyant. As we spoke, I noticed what seemed to be travel photos on the iPad he was playing with. They were images of Malta. Until then, I had never met another person who had vacationed to Malta. I visited Malta in 2007 and found the small country strange and disappointing. We began a long conversation about travel.
And then, it happened: I found myself in yet another moment when it seemed God himself had reached down from the heavens and took my hand. Michael, the gentleman I had been speaking with, mentioned he was a recently retired lawyer specializing in international law. Yep, I was sitting next to an American-based attorney who had decades of experience dealing with international law. My heart skipped and my stomach dropped; I recognized the moment for what it was – divine intervention – and an opportunity I needed to seize upon, fears and embarrassment aside.
I looked Michael square in the face, apologized for the personal nature of what I was about to share, and then explained everything I had been through with the Italian Courts including the odd money request by my attorneys. I asked him where in New York or New Jersey I could find an association that could help me navigate a potential suit against or by my Italian attorneys. I was so hopeful and so certain my prayers were answered that when Michael said there weren’t any such associations, I did not despair because I knew something good would happen still. Seconds later, he looked back at me and informed me I wouldn’t need an association because he was now MY attorney, pro bono. He told me to send him the correspondence from my attorneys, the emails from two years back when I had hired them outlining the terms of our agreement, and any other documents to support my cause. Can you believe it?
They say the Lord works in mysterious ways. He does. He provides and he answers our prayers in ways we cannot fathom. Whatever your belief system, the concept of coincidence is a weak one. Angels don’t appear on a dark street at night when you’re fighting with the police to believe you and they don’t wind up on a plane seat next to you at the time you need one the most. My angel, Michael, came with a smile, an iPad full of photos, and a window seat. And finally, an end was in sight.
QUOTE: “For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways, they will lift you up in their hands…” Psalm 91