Caymanian’s kindness is appreciated

I am taking the time to recount what could be considered a random act of kindness.

I was the recipient of this act of inter-personal heroism, which, through the action of one individual, turned a traveller’s nightmare into a dream.

On the morning of 31 October, 2006, my brother Patrick and I were unable to leave Cayman Brac, because stormy weather would not permit the small twin engine Otter to leave Grand Cayman to start its loop out to the Sister Islands and back.

After a few hours, the skies cleared enough so that our plane could fly. As we landed at Owen Roberts Airport, we looked out the window to see our last chance to get home that day, taxiing to its take-off position on the runway. By the time we disembarked, and passed through the lines for Immigration and Customs, our flight back home was halfway to Atlanta, while we stood in the main concourse of the Owen Roberts Airport, wondering what to do next.

After consultation with a supervisor at the Cayman Airways counter, we discovered that all options available would require an overnight stay, no matter where the next plane took us. Our best bet was to hope to be rebooked for the next day, on the flights we had just missed. We sprinted over to the Delta Airlines counter, which was closing up for the day, because all of the Delta flights had already taken off.

It was then we met Roger Borden, who worked for Air Agencies Ltd., a contract ground agent for Delta. Although Roger could have told us that the counter was closed for the day, instead he chose to listen to the forlorn travellers standing before him, when he could have been on his way home to his family.

We explained to Roger Borden that we had no flight and no place to stay. Roger assisted us in contacting Delta and interceded on our behalf, with Ms Marva Reed, who was both helpful and understanding. Ms Reed, immediately booked us for the next day on the flight that we missed, at no extra charge. We were greatly relieved to know that we would be getting home the next night. Now, our most immediate problem was finding a place to stay for the night.

Once again, Roger to the rescue. Roger Borden called three hotels, informed them of our situation and got the lowest rates from each. At that point we tried to express our appreciation by offering Roger a modest gratuity, which he politely, but persistently refused.

After thanking Roger Borden profusely for his help, which went way beyond the call of duty, we asked Roger for advice on the best way to get to our chosen hotel. Roger thought for a few seconds and said that since the hotel was on his way home, he could drop us off. We loaded all of our bags, including dive gear into all the available space of Roger’s car.

When we arrived at our hotel, Roger got out of his car and approached the hotel counter to make sure that we were given the rate previously quoted.

As we parted company, we were finally able to convince Roger to accept a little gas money. For the remainder of the evening, we spoke warmly of our good fortune in meeting Roger Borden, guardian angel.

When we checked in for our flight the next morning, we asked to see Roger’s supervisor and recounted the events of the previous afternoon. While Ken, Roger’s supervisor, was pleased, he was not surprised. He said that Roger did things like that almost every day.

While flying back to my home in Michigan, I had time to contemplate the unsolicited kindness and sensitivity of Roger Borden.

Roger’s generous Caymanian spirit and how he unflinchingly came to the aid of strangers, reminded me of past and recent history.

I recalled the character of Cayman Islanders in the Wreck of the Ten Sails and of the Cayman school children who donated all of the money saved for a class trip to the victims of our 9-11 disaster. Like Roger Borden’s supervisor, I was pleased, but not surprised.

Jim McElroy

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