It was a late Saturday night and we we’re landing on Charleroi. How late? We had 10 minutes to catch the last shuttle bus to Brussels, which, unfortunately, wouldn’t have made it on time for us to catch the last train from Brussels to Leuven.
Anyway, minimum amount spent would have been ~€100. And no, I wasn’t really taking into account to stay until 5-6 AM in a touristic pub 😛
Going to Brussels was anyway a better plan than staying in Charleroi airport, therefore while he was taking care of the luggage, I went to buy tickets. Luckily, I had to stay in a queue. I say luckily, because while waiting I’ve heard a conversation between two guys.
I jumped out of the cue and in 2 seconds I was next to a guy (almost) twice as tall as me 😛 I immediately said we’re two and asked if he could take us. He politely said yes and in less than 5 minutes we were heading towards the car.
I must say that I had mixed feelings about all that was happening. I was damn happy we might arrive in Brussels on time and that we could catch the last train. But then, this whole going to the car was so long (and he even forgot where it was parked!), made me feel like “what on earth is in your head? what if your kidneys will be a good hunt for this evening?” But then he was too good dressed to hunt kidneys. So for a couple of minutes I went from paradise to hell in just seconds.
Eventually, when we arrived at his car I calmed down. We placed all our staff in the trunk, we took our seats and we started to introduce each other.
He asked us where we’re going and finding out we’re (actually) heading Leuven, he said “but you won’t make it for the train”. And that was actually a cruel truth. “Oh well, we’ll see what we do. Brussels is anyway better than Charleroi”, we insisted.
But he insisted too “you won’t make it! Come on, I’ll take to Leuven.”
Pfuuu! That was a relief but somehow too good to be true. The whole negotiation and trying to be nice vanished soon and we were quickly going to more interesting stuff.
He was an editor for a Belgian TV. He took a flight to Milano that morning and came back in the evening. Why such a short trip? He was on a mission, doing a reportage about how much more you need to pay for a flight with Ryanair in case you are not aware of a set of pieces of information. So after a lonely day in Milano, he was really looking for a company.
I must say we had a really good time the ~2 hours, instead of 50-60 minutes (!) [because we managed to get lost due to some closed roads]. However, around 1:30 AM we were at home and barely believing our eyes what this guy did this for us. He had to spend another 20-30′ to Brussels after dropping us…
Needless to say he didn’t accept any money. Also, even though I asked for a business card he told us it was his pleasure and that we should just “blame” karma for it.
I felt it was a story worth sharing. The recipe for how to spot such occasions is to jump more often in to helping (complete) strangers. It will one day come back to you, one way or another, I can assure you. Moreover, you never know what great talks you can end up having 😉
p.s. He managed to prove that instead of €60-70 he was supposed to pay for the flight, he ended up with a €220 ticket because he didn’t have his boarding pass printed, 2 kg extra luggage, a laptop bag and, last but not least, a suit 🙂