I have to admit that one of the little luxuries I will treat myself to on occasion is to have a car waiting for me at the airport upon arrival. Especially in a foreign country where negotiating the taxi ranks and negotiating a fare is traditional I just don’t want to have to deal with that sort of situation, especially after a long flight. Plus, there is really something quite wonderful about showing up and having someone waiting there with your name on a sign, even if it is a driver that you’ve paid to do that.
In Bangkok the cold towels and water bottles in the car were a very nice touch. In India I still fondly remember my mother-in-law’s company driver knowing my name and handing me a note with a phone number to call for further instructions. Slightly surreal and very entertaining in retrospect. In Vietnam it was a shoddy van that barely had benches inside, much less seat belts or a decent suspension. I paid $2 extra for that “luxury” but it meant not fighting the taxi driver on the fare or having to explain directions and that was well worth my money.
And then there is the joy of actually being met by someone who you know at the airport. The opening and closing scenes of Love Actually capture the emotion rather well, and I have fond memories of similar events in my life.
But I’ve never gone to an airport to welcome random strangers to their destination. These folks did.
They actually went to the airport with signs, gifts, flowers and balloons and “welcomed home” a bunch of random strangers. They leveraged the NYC black car drivers to get names and then staged impromptu welcome parties for complete strangers. Sure, it is a little creepy to have a group of 20 random strangers welcome you home, especially in NYC, but it also seems like a much better welcome than a grumpy driver. And it makes for a pretty entertaining story to share.
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