I knew I needed to get to the airport early for my international flight from Accra, Ghana to Dakar, Senegal. Along the way I would have a brief lay over in Benin, Cotonou. I was just passing through.
As a USA citizen, a VISA would not be required in order to enter Senegal.
While this may be true, the ticket agent believed otherwise and was unwilling to issue a boarding pass without the proper documentation.
Since documentation was not required I did not have it. Nonetheless she was adamant and insistent that I have the paperwork.
The clock was ticketing and time was not on my side. First one supervisor, then another. I remained friendly but firm in my position. I had few options and securing such documentation, for which there was no necessity, would be next to impossible.
I was not of this land. I was an outsider, a foreigner with little too no clout. While the ticket agent may be wrong, it didn’t matter. Without help, I was grounded.
And then it dawned on me. I am not alone. I have friends here who could come to my aid. They could serve as my advocate with the person holding my boarding pass in solitary confinement.
In short order I called my Ghanaian friend who had already made it to the other side of the gate. Once on the telephone line with him I asked him to reason with the determined agent.
As the conversation unfolded, the facial expressions on the accusing gatekeeper gave clues that things might be about to change. A little insight was going a long way and things were appearing to shift in my favor.
A few more calls to supervisors, a brief mention of the USA embassy coming to my aid and I was soon the proud recipient of what was rightly mine, a boarding pass to Senegal! My friend had made all the difference in the outcome.
The stressful experience gave me reason to reflect on what my fate would someday be as I hoped to pass through the gates of heaven. There would no doubt be an accuser waiting at the ticket counter there as well. He would do his best to intercept my boarding pass.
But because I have a friend, named Jesus, who is from and has returned home to the promised land, he will speak on my behalf and provide me the necessary credentials needed to make it to the other side.
In this life I realize I am just passing through. No matter where in the world I might fly, it is not my final destination. No matter how challenging life becomes here, I have a hope and a future in a place far beyond the “friendly” skies!