The Power of Prayer

After “failing” at retiring, I decided to look for a part-time job that would help keep my mind sharp. Yet, one that would also help others. I found that perfect job over three years ago at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.

Three days a week, I work behind the information desks and get to calm passengers down and point them in the right direction. Most people are nice. A few can be bullying and abrasive! Many just need a calm voice and a comforting smile. That I can do.

Over the past few months, Sky Harbor has seen an influx of refugees from countries throughout the world fly through legally to reach a city where they have a sponsor. The immigration issue is controversial and people have strong feelings on all sides. However, I am dedicated to getting all passengers where they need to go when they are standing in front of me with their proper papers.

Recently, a young family of four on their way to Boston from Brazil, appeared at my desk with no papers. The young father had just left an orange folder with all their vital documents in the men’s bathroom. As soon as he realized his huge mistake, he ran back to retrieve the folder, but it was gone!

That’s when the young man, with his wife, and two small children pleaded for my help.  I will never forget the looks on their faces:  panic and fear. Everyone, except the dad was crying. The little daughter hid behind her mother’s skirt and was terrified.

Immediately, I sent out an urgent call to the cleaning crew supervisor, the operations staff, my colleagues at the other info desks, the airport police, immigration, and more. It was a very busy night. But, my most earnest call for help was sent directly to the One I believed in most…our Lord. It was the right thing to do.

This young family’s future depended on that bright orange folder. If they did not find it,   I knew their story would not end well. As the night wore on, those reporting back did not have good news. The father remained strong for his wife and children and the five of us bonded. I was NOT going to give up in trying to locate those papers.

Even though they had their e-tickets on their phone, TSA could not let them through without the rest of their documents. The TSA supervisor put them in a corner and asked them to wait. In the meantime, I ran to a different corner and prayed and prayed and prayed.

Two hours passed and still no folder. I could not get that family off my mind. I prayed some more and in all honesty, should have given the other passengers better service. It was just adequate. I could not stop thinking of the four year old’s desperate eyes.

As midnight was approaching, I all of a sudden looked up and saw a young man at the opposite end of the hall. He was from the cleaning crew and I had never seen him before.   Something in my mind said…run to him! I did. I frantically asked if he had seen a bright orange folder earlier that evening. He said yes!

“Where is it, “I excitedly asked.

“I threw it away,” he responded.


He then pointed to a bunch of garbage cans down a long corridor. But, he was sure they had been emptied!

I am not an athlete, but I ran as fast as I could to those grimy cans. The very first one I dove into was hiding that orange folder in the very bottom! HALLELUJAH!!

I then ran back to TSA and the family was no longer there! Fortunately, the supervisor stayed way past her shift and had taken the family to rebook another flight if the folder was found.

Needless to say, when the family saw me running towards them shouting , “I found it,” they all ran towards me. We hugged and cried and cried and hugged! I then lifted my arms up to heaven and said:      “Thank you, Lord!” So did they.  Then, the little girl said in Portuguese to me as she threw her arms around my waist and shouted… obrigado!

That was a night of gratitude to God I will never forget.