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Just like many other things in life, travel too has become a part and parcel for me. I am always going for business trips and this extraordinary frequency of such trips has taken out all charm of going places. But my last trip has been and will probably be the most memorable one. I was sitting by the window in the first row of the aircraft while travelling from L.A to D.C. My co-passenger seemed to be an octogenarian. The man looked so happy! He was greeting all the passengers who were boarding the aircraft and passing by his seat.

The aircraft took off and he began to talk to me. This jolly ol’ man asked me why I was making a grumpy face. I told him that I was on a boring business trip and nothing could make me smile. Then he laughed aloud and said that he would tell me something which surely would bring a smile on my face. And surprisingly, he kept his words!

A Trip To Remember

He began to talk about himself and his life. This senior citizen named Jack is 81 years old. He was traveling to meet his sweetheart. It sounded nice but little strange. But then when he shared the truth, I was dumb struck! His sweetheart is none other than his high school pal Betty who is his age. They were to meet each other after 62 long years! Yes, that’s right! These two lovebirds were to meet after more than six decades.

Jack told me that five months ago he got Betty’s contact information on the internet. The two of them spoke over the phone. He recalled their school days. Their love story was so sweet. Love, laughter, promises, and many more little things helped Jack and Betty to create a bond between them. But after their high school, they gradually grew apart. Jack was married to someone and Betty to someone else and these two people got busy with their own lives not even thinking even in the wildest of their dreams that they would speak to each other after so long when both of them had lost their spouses. While Betty’s husband had died six years back, it was two years back that Jack’s wife had passed away.

While I was listening to Jack, I could feel the immense excitement getting built inside me. I was just listening to him; moved and spellbound. Jack was wondering how Betty would react; so was I. He told me jokingly, that Betty would probably take one look at him and say, “Get the hell on the next plane going back!”. The climax was getting built. Our aircraft was to land in 45 minutes. Jack kept his promise; he made me smile and also built an immense excitement inside me. I was so eager to see these 81-year old sweethearts meet after 62 years!

As the aircraft touched down, a steward drove Jack in a wheelchair. I followed him, just not being able to wait to see the story unfold. As we were waiting in the lobby, Jack began to look here and there in search of Betty. He could not see her. I craned my neck and saw that from a distance was coming a wheelchair carrying a fair old lady. I shouted, “Hey, there she comes!” As the other wheelchair, driven by a young man came nearby, the old lady shouted, “Jack!” Oh my God! What a reunion! Jack stood up from his seat, hugged her tight and kissed her deep. Everyone present there was smiling and clapping. I hugged and kissed both Jack and Betty. Jack sat on his wheelchair. Both the chairs were being pushed outside the airport, side by side. Jack held Betty’s hand and said aloud, “We are in love!”

As I saw the school sweethearts reunite, I remembered a proverb I had learnt during my school days, “Truth is stranger than fiction!”

This script of the above story is based on a real life incident that happened in Washington’s Dulles Airport.

Photo credits: Mislav Marohnić

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