Midnight Landing

Sure, I told God my worries, but why bother other people with them? Because those other people might be earth angels.

by
- Posted on Oct 21, 2010

An artist's rendering of an angel working on an airport tarmac

I stared out the airplane window at the lights of New York City glittering below. The lights seemed to go on forever—but I wasn’t excited. I wished the plane would turn right around and take me back to the Montana prairie.

I was coming to New York for a conference. This was only my third visit to a big city in my entire life. I was born in Montana and I married a farmer. Milton and I tilled 1,000 acres of wheat and I loved every minute I spent under those wide Montana skies.

The thought of landing in New York filled me with apprehension, especially since it would be nearly midnight when the plane touched down.

Our farm was so remote the trip had taken 18 hours—a one-hour drive to Glendive, Montana, a prop plane to Billings, then a jet to Minneapolis, a flight to Detroit and then another flight to New York. In my hand I held a piece of paper with the phone number of the hotel where I’d be staying.

“Our shuttle bus service ends at midnight,” the hotel receptionist had cautioned me when I told her my itinerary. “There aren’t any more runs until morning. So be sure to call the minute you land.”

But what if I couldn’t find a phone? Milton and I were pretty old-fashioned in our use of technology. Between us we owned one cell phone, which Milton took with him on the tractor in case of an emergency. I’d be relying on pay phones this trip.

What if I was too late? What if I got lost? I pictured myself stranded in a crowded airport. I’d be all alone. God, show me the way! I thought as I read the phone number one more time.

I leaned against my seat and tried to calm down. I stared at the flight attendant slowly making her way down the aisle collecting last bits of trash and checking everyone’s seat belts.

I’d seen nine different flight attendants that day. This woman by far was the nicest. She was young, dressed in a navy blue skirt, white blouse and navy vest. Her hair was the prettiest blond I’d ever seen, like spun gold. An aura of peace seemed to hang about her.

She drew closer and a strange thought entered my head. Ask her how to get to your hotel. Immediately I felt foolish. Why on earth would I ask a question like that? What would she know about my hotel? She was a stewardess!

No doubt she’d think I was exactly what I was—a woman from the country scared of New York. Well, I wouldn’t ask.

The plane landed and taxied to the gate. I rushed into the terminal and found an information desk. The clerk pointed to a hotel courtesy phone at the far side of the room. All I had to do was press the La Quinta Inn button. “I’m calling from the airport,” I said. “I’m not too late for the shuttle, am I?”

“Actually, the shuttle’s already on its way,” the receptionist replied. “Look for a white van with La Quinta on the side.”

I hung up the phone, relieved but puzzled. I looked around for the exit. The largest group of people was heading for one door so I followed them. We walked down a corridor and soon emerged outside at a busy loading area.

The roar of a highway filled my ears. People jostled and wrestled luggage into trunks. I looked for the van. I didn’t see it.

I waited. And waited. I walked up and down the sidewalk getting more nervous by the second. Had I taken the wrong exit? Had the van already left? Now what should I do? There wasn’t anyone to ask for help.

Looking up I thought I saw a flash of white. I ran toward it, lugging my bag. It was a van. I drew up alongside. “Are you going to the La Quinta Inn?” I asked breathlessly.

The driver nodded, opening the sliding door. I clambered inside and only then noticed the other passengers. Two were clean-cut young men in crisp navy blue pilot’s uniforms. Beside them sat a young woman, also dressed in navy blue. She smiled at me.

Her hair, illuminated by the van’s dome light, shone like spun gold. Of course it did. Next time I wouldn’t let embarrassment keep me from asking for help. Not just from God but from the angels he sends to guide us every day.

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