Angels – they are everywhere. The world is simply a beautiful place with such amazing people in it, making life truly worth living for love of the people that surround us.
I was looking for a way, any way, to be able to get my clothes to Abu Dhabi in time for the race. I gave every suggestion a try, no matter how far-fetched they seemed, hoping to find a way to get the clothes from the US to the UAE before Saturday.
Thursday morning, I receive a message: I’m in California, Laguna Beach right now, can I help in anyway? What are the chances for this person to be in California when he lives thousands of miles away?! We looked at all sorts of postal options together, but the earliest delivery time we could find was Sunday, day after the race. He then had a moment of serendipity: ‘Emirates! They tend to freight things on their flights.’
With a twelve hour difference between us, he went to sleep whilst I started researching. There was a flight leaving Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon, arriving to Dubai on Friday 19:30. If we could only get the clothes on this flight, I could have them in Abu Dhabi by race morning.
As night fell in Abu Dhabi and California started to wake up, this wonderful person said, ‘don’t worry – I’ll drive down to San Diego now, pick up your clothes, drive them up to LA, give them to Emirates, and that should leave me with enough time to get back to Laguna Beach in time for my meeting.’ ‘But that’s like a 7 hour drive!’ I said. ‘Don’t worry, the car rental people have just upgraded my car, it’s such a beauty – I need an excuse to drive it!’ I know he’s saying that only to make me feel better.
As I was getting ready for bed, he sent me a text to say that all is under control. He’s picked up the clothes from the lady producing them and is making his way up to LA. An hour later, I get a call. ‘Shirin,’ he says. ‘I’m so sorry, Emirates does not have the freight service on flights out of America. I’m driving right now, can you see if you can find other options?’ Unless we could find a passenger on that flight willing to bring the clothes, there was no other way to get them to Abu Dhabi before Saturday morning. Facebook, twitter, internet forums, I tried anything I could think of, but it was now way past midnight in Abu Dhabi and I had to catch some sleep. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’ll go to the airport anyhow and see if I can find a passenger who’s willing to bring your clothes for you.’
Friday morning, I woke up to find a message: I’m so sorry, I couldn’t find anyone. There was just this one person who was willing, but was on transit, and it being LA, I didn’t want to cause a security scare!
The clothes never made it, but words don’t do what this incredible person went through any justice. To cancel his meeting and drive for 7 hours for me, to stand at an airport and ask people if they would take my clothes for me… so that a girl half way across the globe could participate in a triathlon. I only swim, bike and run, but the real story is that of these incredible, angelic people who support me so generously and unconditionally to enable me to do so.
As for the race, I wasn’t able to race the way I had wanted to. It wasn’t possible without having my clothes. But once again, I am so fortunate that the people at the ITU are so helpful, understanding and encouraging. They enabled me to race in my own little way, so that I could at least assess how the training has paid off, and prepare myself for future races where I hopefully will have my race clothes in time.