I kept asking her to be calm. Focus. All we need is to find a way out of Istanbul and then we will figure out the next step. They said that I could go through customs and up to sales and leave Mom there where she can sit. I could come back with the boarding passes. I convinced her to let me go without her and left her telling our woes to a nice Kenyan man.
After passing through customs I ran upstairs to the Turkish airlines windows and explained my situation slowly and calmly.
I can't help you.
I waited 60 whole seconds before I breathed, What?
I can't issue you another ticket. You got this through United Airlines. You have to contact them.
Oh my god.
Luckily Information had the information and I was off to pay for the most expensive phone call of my life. Even luckier was the fact that the post office inside the airport where I was calling from took dollars and didn't drop my call. Being on hold forever makes you seriously worried that you are going to lose the one guy that says he is going to help you so I welled up and allowed a couple tears to fall. The man waiting to use the phone offered me his assistance and gave me his name number and told me where he worked. Ahmet seemed sincere but then again could be a human trafficker so I got more upset. Finally the guy on the phone said there were no further flights he could put me on using the mileage and we would have to pay.
Ok. Fine. No problem. How much?
Lufthansa has room on a flight tomorrow morning at 5:55 am that would get you to Frankfurt in time for the connection to D.C.
Great. Ok. How much?
Ma'am, if you buy them from me they will be $1000 each.
Huh? Are you serious? What do you mean if I buy them from you?
Ma'am, they are listing a few other prices. I can see they have flights available for $500 each but you would have to go to the Lufthansa counter and buy them there.
You're telling me that you see tickets available for half the price but you can't sell them to me?
Yes ma'am, I'm afraid so. It's late there now so I suggest you head over to their counter. If you can't get them at the counter you can call back.
Oh my god.
I hung up and ran back to Information to find out where Lufthansa was. Then I ran to the counter.
They were closed.