Spain (16) - The End
Normally I don't bother writing about flying home, but there was so much happening this time that I have to write about it.
We were flying home from Madrid through Atlanta on Delta. While waiting for checking in at Madrid airport, we started talking to this lady behind us about our trips. She was on a 2-weeks national geographic tour of Africa's western coast and Canary Islands. She just got to Madrid last night so she could fly home this morning. While we were talking, three of her tour mates came to the end of the waiting line. One is a lady in her 60s, one is a guy in his 60s walking with a leg brace, and the third one is an old lady in her 80s. We later found out that she is the mother of the younger lady.
So the lady behind us greeted her tour mates with "How are you doing? How was your night last night?" The daughter initially answered with one word: "Terrible", before elaborating a bit more. It turned out that after arriving in Madrid last night, their taxi driver wanted to charge them 3 times normal price. They argued with him. The taxi driver somehow just drove off with all their luggage in the trunk. Luckily they carried their passports on their shoulder bags, so they could at least go home today. None of them got good eyes or quick feet that they could chase the taxi to write the license number down, so they couldn't even report who stole their luggage to police.
We felt so bad for them. It's one thing to read about travel horror stories online. It is totally another to hear it first hand like this, and seeing it happening on 3 seniors, right after their vacation of a lifetime, I can't even describe how sorry we felt for them. Unfortunately things got even worse for them later.
Two hours after we left Madrid, there was a commotion around the bathroom in front of me, followed by announcement asking for doctor on board to help. It turned out the old lady in her 80s was having a heart attack. After being treated by two doctors on board, they decided she needed a hospital immediately. So the captain dumped the jet fuel and landed us in Azores where U.S. has a military base. Several U.S. soldiers and local Azores officials came on the plane, carried the old lady off. Her daughter and son-in-law also got off the plane. The daughter looked so awful, stressed out horribly.
After refueling, re-checking the plane, doing all the paperwork needed for an unscheduled stop and landing being overweight, we finally took off from Azores 3 hours later. I had no idea if the old lady made it through or not. I hope she did. It is bad enough to experience what they did at the end of a trip. To further suffer a loss of life will be unimaginable.