I met Matthew early this morning in Washington, D.C. and heard the long, drawn out story, of how he nearly missed his flight and ended up having to pay for his airline ticket on our credit card. Without going into the sordid details, the facts were that his ticket was voided, and the travel department where the ticket originated, and needed to be reissued, was in Jordan. Without a contact number or international cell service or an airline ticket to get us to Los Angeles, we were stuck in limbo.
That is ... until I emailed two girlfriends who LIVE in Jordan, and begged them for help. Less than an hour later, I received word back from one of them saying that she was able to get in touch with someone at the Embassy who took our information and would forward it on to the travel department. Three emails and thirty minutes later, she was assured that we were being taken care of, ten hours away in D.C.
Now, in the meantime of waiting for my girlfriend's replies, I discovered that I indeed had international cell service on my iPhone, and was able to get in touch with the travel department myself. In fact, I was on the phone with them at the same time my friend was being assured that our problems were being addressed.
While it seemed like an eternity, in less than two hours Matt's ticket issues were resolved, and he received an email stating that he'd be reimbursed for his out-of-pocket expenses. Whew!
But more importantly, I was reminded that ... despite distance, despite tenure, despite experience ... this foreign service community is one to rely on ... to come to in times of need. Occasionally it may feel a bit like high school, where toes can get stepped on, and feelings hurt. But in the end, the bonds that we create along this winding, and sometimes treacherous path, are some of the strongest we'll ever encounter.
Just check out their own stories under the FS links on the sidebar of my blog ...
(kindly let me know if I'm missing you and you'd like to be added)