My wife was worried about our two daughters traveling by themselves. She didn’t have to be.
“We’ll be alright, Mom,” my 13-year-old stepdaughter Sarah said. “Honestly, Mom, nothing’s going to happen,” my 10-year-old stepdaughter Laura echoed. But the worry on my wife Geri’s face didn’t go away as she stood near the gates at the Dulles International airport. She was sending the girls off on a flight to visit their father, who’d recently moved to Denver. They would be flying as unaccompanied minors for the first time. Geri insisted on going with them as far as security would allow before turning the kids over to airline personnel. Now it was time to say goodbye, and she didn’t want to let go.
Geri had been worried about the flight for weeks. The two girls were sitting in a row of three seats. Who would sit next to them? Some creep? She had called the airline multiple times to make sure the girls would be looked after. She confirmed and reconfirmed and confirmed again that the girls’ father would be there to meet them on the other side. But none of it gave her peace.
I had reminded Geri it could be worse. My nephew, Nathaniel would be traveling by himself all the way to Japan for an English teaching program. He’d be alone in a place where he didn’t even speak the language. But he was older. An experienced traveler. For Geri, it was no comparison. The girls still needed someone with them. Someone we could trust.
“Really, it’ll be okay,” Laura reassured her mother. She looked towards the long line of people entering the boarding area. Just then, Laura did a double take. “Mom, look over there. Is that…”
In line, his head down, examining his ticket, was Nathaniel.
“Nate!” Geri called. He looked up, surprised. “Aunt Geri?”
“What are you doing here?” Geri asked him, running up and giving him a hug.
“My flight to Tokyo,” he said. “It goes through Denver.”
Geri was thankful the girls wouldn’t have to travel alone. Nathaniel was happy to see some friendly faces too. He kept an eye on the girls all through the flight. It was easy to do. His ticket was for the seat right next to them.