My son and I traveled to Indianapolis via New York on 13 November 2018. It was snowing that day when we arrived and we missed the connecting flight. We arrived into Indianapolis late by a couple of hours.
When we returned from Indianapolis to New York Manhattan on 15 November, we were caught in a sudden snowstorm across the whole of the Northeast of America. We were stranded in transit at Detroit Airport. Most of the connecting flights were cancelled. The snowstorm was unexpected in November and was the worst in 136 years with some 6.5 inches of snow fall.
I knew the incredibly slim odds of ever making back to New York from Detroit. Let me try to explain the odds.
What is the probability of winning the first prize of the four digit lottery ? It is one chance in 10,000. For each digit, the chance of a particular number is 10. So for 4 digits, it will be 10 times 10 times 10 times 10 and that equal to 10,000.
I have to face 4 to 5 situation and clear all hurdles altogether in order to make it back to New York. And you can imagine the incredibly slim odds far more slimmer than winning the 4D lottery.
- I managed to get into the plane ready to take off but twice I was de-planed as Newark airport refused to allow incoming flights. Finally my flight was cancelled and also many other connecting flights. What was the chance of me getting onto the last flight in the evening ? What was the chance of even re-booking on flights the day after and subsequent days ? The capacity of most domestic planes is only 80 persons at most and I have noticed the load for each flight was around 90%.
- It was the worst snowstorm in 136 years. The taxi ways were so jammed because not only planes departing were required to de-ice and so there were many other vehicles on the taxi ways, but also they were full of snow and impassable unless they were removed. What was the chance that New York airport would re-open for the very last flight ?
- After prayer, I decided to go on standby for the last flight in the evening. We were 5 and 6 in the queue. And the boarding was not closed till 5 minutes before departure time. What was the chance of us getting on board ? Even when we got on board, would the flight be cancelled while waiting for clearance from Newark Airport ? Would the flight flying half way be diverted to another airport should the snowstorm get worse before landing ?
- The ground mass transportation systems were shut down. Only taxis were operating and most roads were impassable because of the snowfall. It was unexpected total chaos. What was the chance that I could get ground transportation to take me to my hotel ?
- Since we boarded the plane in the last minute, what was the chance that our luggage would follow ? My son suffered from severe eczema and it would be a disaster for him without his medicine and creams.
It became clear to me that the odds of clearing all the above hurdles was way much much slimmer than winning the first prize of the 4D lottery.
I pleaded for God’s deliverance. I have never been more helpless in such situation before. God answered my prayer for every hurdle on the way.
- We managed to get on board the last flight even though we were no 5 and 6 in the standby queue. We were the last passengers to make it on board the plane. I could feel the helplessness of some 20 people on standby who did not make it on board, as they were quarreling at the gate over the queue.
- We arrived safely but we should not expect our luggage to follow for the plane departed from the gate as soon as we got on board. We were so surprised to see our luggage at the Newark Airport. The luggage came in on an earlier flight in the morning. That was against aviation regulation as far as I know. Anyway we were so thankful for this “mistake”.
- When we called for transportation, we were told we would not have any driver till 8 or 9 am the next day. To our amazement, I received an SMS informing me that our transport would be picking us up in 4 minutes !
How grateful I was for God’s deliverance ! We managed to get to our warm hotel just 2 hours after midnight.
Immediately upon our return on 20 November 2018, the temperatures in Northeast America hit Siberian temperatures. We would be ill prepared for such temperatures as we never expect such cold temperatures in November.
Our God is sovereign and He cares ! All thanks and glory to Him forever !