top of page

Thirty-Five Minutes

Heading to the airport to speak to college students about the three angels’ messages, I am alerted by a message on my phone. Flight delay of thirty-five minutes.

“Lord,” I breathe. “The thirty-five minutes are yours. I’m here for what you need.”

My husband drops me off at curbside check-in. Suitcases deposited, I am unencumbered and unhurried. Inside the airport, I head for the escalator. And then it happens. I hear a crash somewhere behind me. I change course to discover an elderly woman, sprawled on the floor just inside the door. I take her hand as she explains, “I was trying to go to the right and my suitcase got stuck somehow.”

“Are you able to get up?” I ask.

“I need a moment,” she says, clearly rattled.

Two security guards appear and help her up, as I continue to hold her hand. “Do you want a wheelchair?” they ask. “We can take you to your gate.”

“I’ve never had a wheelchair before,” she says. “I just need a moment.”

The security guards leave. I continue holding her hand. “I don’t normally fall,” she says. “I’m from Canada. There’s ice everywhere and I’ve never fallen. It’s just that I was trying to go to the right and my suitcase got stuck.”

“Of course,” I reassure her. “It could happen to anyone. Can I help you check in? Where are you headed?”

Grateful, she points to the opposite end of the airport. “I need to go to Air Canada. Is that near where you are headed?”

“No,” I say, “But it’s okay. I have time.”

On the long walk to the far end, she tells me her story. “I’ve never been to this airport. I flew in from Canada to St. Pete and then my son picked me up. He’s a wonderful man, my son. A wonderful man.”

“You must be very proud of him,” I say.

“He looked for me for 59 years. And then he found me.”

My eyes mist over. “You gave him up for adoption 59 years ago?”

She nods.

I think of the time I retrieved my own two sons from airports. “I am an adoptive mother myself,” I say. “I met my boys at airports shortly after their births.”

“I lived in Canada,” she says. “I flew to England to have my son. And then I flew back to Canada. He looked for me for 59 years.”

“How did he find you?” I ask, noting the Air Canada sign still many steps in the distance.

“Since my married name was different, it was hard for him to track me down. But he found my brother’s obituary. When he read the obituary, he learned my name.”

“That’s amazing,” I say.

“Yes,” she continues. “I was so happy to find out he was raised by a good family. He’s such a wonderful young man. He dropped me off at the airport.  And then I fell. I’ve never fallen before. It’s just that I was trying to go to the right and my suitcase got stuck.”

“Of course,” say. “It could happen to anyone.”

Nearing the far end of the airport, I steer her towards the Air Canada counter. I help her unfasten her carry-on from her suitcase. I hold her purse while she checks her bag.

“I’ve had a difficult time,” she explains to the woman at the counter. “I fell. I’ve never fallen before. It’s just that I was trying to go to the right and my suitcase got stuck.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” says the attendant. “I’m sure your day will get better.” She turns to me. “Are you checking a bag as well?”

I smile and shake my head.

“This is my special angel,” the elderly woman interjects. “She helped me up and has stuck with me ever since. She’s my angel. My special angel.”

The attendant gives me a grateful look. “How nice!”

We collect the ticket and I guide my new friend towards the escalator. “This airport is a little different,” I explain. “You don’t go through the security line until you ride the tram. I will take you as far as I can.”

We get on the escalator, and I inspect her ticket. Her plane departs from C. Mine departs from A—the opposite end of the airport.

“Are you going in the same direction as me?” she asks.

“No,” I smile. “But it’s no problem. I have time.”

I walk with her to the C entrance. I scan her boarding pass to open the small gate that leads to the tram. Her eyes well up. “You are my angel,” she says. “My special angel. God sent me an angel.”

I do not know her name. She does not know mine. But we embrace tightly at the parting. I wave until she fades out of sight.

I head for the A zone. I scan my boarding pass, get on the tram, ride to A, stand in line, go through security, and finally arrive at my gate.

I look at my watch. Shake my head in amazement.

I check it again. Study the numbers. Do the math.

Exactly thirty-five minutes have passed since I entered the airport.

Thirty-five minutes I gave to the Lord.

I offered Him time.

He gave me a blessing.

Humbled and honored, I settle into a seat and wait for my next assignment.

230 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All

A Thanksgiving Tribute to Educators

During this season of Thanksgiving, it’s time to recognize our teachers and all those whose lives are invested in children. For schools and churches, I offer the following liturgy, written from the he


I cried in awe of Gods Wisdom and Timing - Let us All Slow Down!


I enjoyed the story! We serve an amazing God! Thank you for sharing!


Beautiful story. I’m on watch for my “35 minutes.” Thank you for the reminder to be ready.

bottom of page