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Passengers deboarding a plane | Source: Shutterstock
Passengers deboarding a plane | Source: Shutterstock

Man Waits for Son He Has Not Seen in Years at the Airport, Does Not Find Boy among Passengers – Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Apr 30, 2022
01:30 A.M.

Arlene sent her seven-year-old, Justin, to visit his father, Pierce, in Orlando. Pierce waited for his son in anticipation of all the fun they would have, but his flight had allegedly arrived, and his son was nowhere to be found. That's when both parents started worrying and realized their shocking mistake.

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Arlene and her son, Justin, were at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Virginia. The seven-year-old was about to board a flight to Orland, Florida, where his father, Pierce, awaited him. It was the first time he had traveled as an unaccompanied minor, but luckily, the airline attendant made her feel safe.

"It's going to be alright, Mrs. Cardigan. Many minors travel alone around the country, and we should reach your husband in time," she stated. "He'll have an escort, and this flight is best because there are no connections. Everything will be perfect."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Arlene nodded, her face filled with emotion. Justin might be growing, but he was still a child. It was hard to let him go, mainly because he hadn't seen his father in years. After their bitter divorce, Pierce moved from Virginia to Orlando, Florida, and he was busy most of the time.

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"How is that possible?" Arlene wailed, almost starting to cry from the worry and exasperation. But something occurred to her at that moment. "Give me a second."

However, his company had just given him a two-week vacation, and he invited Justin to come to spend time with him. They were going to the theme parks, so that Arlene couldn't say no. Her son was too excited because he loved everything relating to superheroes and dinosaurs. It was his dream.

But now, she was almost regretting it. "Ok, Justin. You're going to with this lady and get on the plane. Listen to the adults around. Don't run off from your escort, and you'll reach your dad soon. When you land in Orlando, you call me immediately. And then, call me again when you meet your father. Understand?" she requested, kneeling in front of the kid and holding his arms tenderly.

"Yes, Mom!" he replied, smiling and doing a makeshift military salute. This kid had a great sense of humor. He was going to love that trip.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Ok. Love you. Go on!" she continued and watched as Justin grabbed the attendant's hand and entered the gate.

She thought about leaving but sat down at an airport café. She was going to wait for the plane to take off. But once she saw that the flight had taken off, she decided to stay and wait for Justin's call if anything happened. After all, the light was less than two hours long. The time would pass quickly.

***

Meanwhile, Pierce was waiting for Justin at Orlando International Airport, and he couldn't wait. He was just as excited as the kid to see all the attractions at the park. It was crazy that he had lived in the city for years but had yet to attend. His work kept him way too busy. This trip was going to be amazing.

He arrived an hour before Justin's flight and went to the arrival area to wait for him. Finally, the flight landed, and Pierce got closer to the gate so his son could see him immediately. "I should have made a sign," he muttered to himself as he saw other people waiting for their loved ones. It was too late now. He stayed in the front at all times.

However, many passengers came out, and there was no Justin. According to the unaccompanied minor service, Arlene said that he would have top priority. So, someone should have brought him out already. He didn't want to call her yet to avoid worrying her. Maybe, Justin had to go to the bathroom, which could explain the delay. He would wait for a while.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

But at one point, no other passengers were coming out of the arrival area. It had been an hour since the plane landed. It shouldn't take that long. He approached someone from the airline and started asking questions. An attendant came to assist him.

"I'm sorry, sir. There was no one by the name of Justin Cardigan on that flight. We have no record of an unaccompanied minor serviced hired for it either," the attendant, shocking Pierce.

"That's impossible. Please, check again," he demanded, trying to stay calm, but the sweat on his forehead gave away his fears.

The assistant typed away on her computer, and Pierce's phone rang. It was Arlene. Hopefully, she knew what was going on. "Hello?"

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"Hey, Pierce. Why didn't you guys call me when Justin arrived? I told him to call me when the plane landed and when you met with him," Arlene wondered, and he could tell that she was agitated for some reason.

"Arlene, listen. I'm sorry to say this, but Justin has not arrived. An attendant here said that he was not on the flight. I don't understand what's going on," he was forced to reveal, and Arlene yelled in his ear.

"No! That's crazy! NO! Tell the attendant to check again!" she started yelling. "I'm going to talk to someone on my end too. I'm still at the airport."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Ok. Listen, calm down. Everything will be alright. There must be a mix-up or something," he said, trying to calm his ex-wife because he knew she was prone to hysterics.

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"I'm not calming down! This is our child, Pierce! Talk to you later!" she screamed and hung up.

"Sir, like I said. There was no Justin Cardigan on the flight. There's nothing I can do. Are you sure this is the airline?" the attendant asked.

"Yes! It's the only flight that arrived at this time from Virginia! My son was on that flight. My ex-wife just confirmed. Please, help me, miss. He's only seven. Can you call anyone? Should I call the police?" Pierce started asking questions rapidly. The attendant sighed and grabbed her phone.

***

"Justin, where are you? Why didn't you call me sooner? What's happening?" Arlene asked desperately on her phone.

"Mom, we have been trying to find Dad for hours, and he's nowhere. Did you talk to him?" the little boy said through the phone.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Your father is right at the arrival area. He's just as worried as I am. Please, give the phone to your escort," Arlene requested and demanded an explanation from the woman, who only reiterated what Justin said earlier. There was no Pierce Cardigan anywhere in the airport.

She told them to wait until she called again and dialed her ex's number. "Pierce, Justin called me and said they've been looking for you for a long time. What's going on?" she said, one hand running through her hair in frustration. She knew Justin was safe, but there was no reason why they couldn't find each other.

"There's no way, Arlene. That's impossible. People here are saying he was not on the flight!" Pierce stated.

"How is that possible?" Arlene wailed, almost starting to cry from the worry and exasperation. But something occurred to her at that moment. "Give me a second."

She went to her emails where she had sent Pierce the flight details. However, she had written them instead of sending a screenshot, and she suddenly realized her big mistake. "Pierce," she started, again putting the phone in her ear. "Where are you?"

"What do you mean? I'm at Orlando International Airport. Why?" Pierce questioned, confused by her words. But something clicked in his brain at that moment.

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"Justin arrived at Orlando Sanford International Airport!" Arlene yelled, and Pierce took off in a run.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Jesus! Arlene, why didn't you say that in your email! Most flights got to MCO!" he scolded her breathlessly as he ran to his car. "I'll be there in 30 minutes!"

While Pierce was on his way, Arlene called Justin and explained to his escort what had happened. She was relieved too, and they waited for Pierce to arrive.

Less than an hour later, Justin called her. "I'm with Dad, Mom! Thank you for helping me! I'll send you pics of Disney soon!"

Arlene hung up the phone with her son and breathed deeply as if she couldn't get enough air in her lungs. Finally, she walked to her car.

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What can we learn from this story?

  • You must send all the details of a flight and check several times. These poor parents worried so much because they had not communicated well enough. Luckily, nothing happened, and they resolved the issue.
  • It's always best to fly with your kids. While an unaccompanied minor service is perfect for busy parents and other situations, Arlene should have traveled with her son if she was going to worry so much. She would have avoided worrying so much.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who adopted a boy she found on the side of the road, and his father showed up years later.

This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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