On 22nd of December 2018, I had a flight back to my hometown Hyderabad from Frankfurt Germany. I had a flight scheduled at 9:15 am and i was staying in a hotel at Bad Mareinberg Germany. I booked my cab for 5 am in the morning since Bad Mareinberg was around 125 kms from Frankfurt. I checked out the room and boarded the cab to the airport. To my surprise the cab driver was a Pakistani guy and I was able to converse with him in Urdu. We started speaking about various topics related to India and Pakistan and the ride was going on pretty well. Suddenly at 5:30 am i realized that i did not have the passport in my pocket. This scared me to death as i had no clue where I placed my passport. We were already 40 kms away from the hotel and it would take around 30 mins to go back to the hotel. However since I had no option left, I asked the cab driver to turn around and head back to hotel. During the ride back to hotel, I searched my bags in the cab but couldn’t find the passport. I was scared to hell since I couldn’t really picture on what all steps I should undergo in case i fail to find my passport. Lots of thoughts were running on my mind and I was trying to cool myself. We reached the hotel at 6 am and luckily I found the passport on the table of my room. I know that I was completely reckless in leaving behind the passport back. I got back into my senses and was breathing a sigh of relief after I found it. the clock was ticking and I had to quickly reach airport. I also had 2 bags that I had to check in. I requested the cab driver in urdu to speed up and make sure that i reach the airport within the gate closure time. He really helped me out by driving well and i finally reached airport at 7:30 am. Finally i thought everything should be fine now and i can board the flight peacefully.
Here comes the second scariest thing I experienced at the Airport. Since the actual trip lasted more than the expected trip, the cab driver made some calls to his owner and finally quoted a price of 260 Euros (while the initial price was 180 Euros). I was completely fine with that and gave my credit card to the driver. Here comes the plot twist when the driver said that he only accepts Cash. I was dumbstruck and shocked to hear that. I had only 130 euros of cash with me and didn’t knew on how could I arrange for additional 130 euros. Cab driver accompanied me inside the airport to find an ATM machine and we tried to withdraw the money using my Debit card. However it did not work out since my debit card wasn’t activated for international usage and i won’t be able to draw money using credit card. Finally I asked the Cab driver to help me out with alternatives and somehow let me board my flight. The clock was ticking and it was already 8 am. I requested him if I can transfer through the bank for which his owner did not agree to. We tried getting some money at Forex but they did not accept my credit card either. I requested him to pay for additional 130 euros and ensured him that I would do the transfer once I reach India. Unfortunately his bank account showed up a balance of -1000 euros. His owner called him up and told him to handover me to the police and let police deal with it. I was scared on where is this entire thing going and how to get out of the situation. However the cab driver (Pakistani) was very kind and said he wouldn’t do that and was still trying to understand the options we have. Clock was ticking and it was 8:15 am already. Finally we went to the police to get some advice on what should be done in this situation and the police advised us swipe the card on the card machines of other taxi drivers outside of airport and get the cash from them. We went out and started requested taxi drivers to help me with the money. I even offered additional 50 euros as a commission for the transaction. We spoke to around 8 drivers and none of them helped us. It was 8:30 am and I had 45 mins to departure and checking closes at 8:30 am. Finally the 9th Cab driver who was also a Pakistani agreed to do it and we got the cash. I paid the cash to my Cab driver and thanked him a lot for his help and for his Hindi to German translations that helped us to solve the issue. I thought I had missed my flight and upon reaching the check in counter, the Emirates attendant was waiting for me to check in the bag.
I learnt two critical things on that day:
- There will definitely be scary situations that you will encounter in your life as you go on. But always remember to maintain your cool and find for the best possible solutions to sort things out. In this case, although I was scared but I kept my cool and kept on trying to request multiple taxi drivers to accept the proposal for transaction.
- I guess when you are abroad you don’t really see people with boundaries. Both Pakistanis who helped me that day only thought that a fellow human was in need of a dire help and we have to help him out. I learnt that i must also help people in dire need when time comes.
Myself with Shahid khan (Pakistani who helped me in Germany)
As they say “Every cloud has a Silver Lining”, after this incident i was provided a free upgrade to business class for my flight and yes I had a great time in the Business class 🙂 .
Apologies for grammatical errors. I am striving to improve myself everyday.
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