“Hello,” Ken slurs, half asleep while answering his phone on a late lazy Saturday afternoon. The voice at the other end was that of a female he didn’t recognize immediately.

“You may not remember me, and I don’t blame you if you don’t, but this is Gina,  and I need to ask you a favor.”

Ken’s memory quickly returned, “of course, I remember you, Gina, even though you abruptly broke up our relationship of four months for no reason. I thought we were getting to know each other fairly well. I’ve called and written you several times in the last eight months. You never replied, so I gave up.”

“I’m sorry, Ken. I’m sorry I walked out on you, but I’m dealing with some personal issues and felt uncomfortable sharing them with you then and still am now. I’m sorry, Ken, please understand.”

“No, I don’t understand, but I respect your wish. Anyway, you called me for a favor. What is it?”

“I have an interview for a good-paying job in Cleveland on Monday. I was wondering if you’d drive me to O’Hare Airport later today?”

“You’re moving to Cleveland?”

“I’ll stay with my aunt if I get the job.”

“I didn’t know you had an aunt in Cleveland or anywhere for that matter. By the way, why can’t your boyfriend drive you to the airport?”

“I haven’t dated anyone since we broke up, but I’ll call you when I return. Also, if I remember correctly, you loved my dogs. If your girlfriend doesn’t mind, could you doggie sit them for a few days-top, five days?”

“Like you, I haven’t dated either since the breakup, but I’ll doggie sit under one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m not driving to Mundelein to your apartment twice a day and taking the dogs for a walk. I’ll take them to my house in Gurnee. They’ll love the big, fenced backyard.”

“Sure, okay. So, can you pick me up at 7; my flight leaves at 9?”

“Even with carry on, that’s not enough time, Gina. It’s 5 p.m. now. Let me swing by your place, pick up the dogs, take them to my home and then come back and drive you to O’Hare. That gives us over three hours for you to catch your flight.”

“Sure, I really appreciate this, Ken. Thank you.”

“Before you hang up, Gina, I want you to know that I miss you and hope if you get the job in Cleveland or not, we can start over?”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Ken, but maybe friends, I promise not to disappear this time. An occasional phone call would be okay.”

As Ken hangs up, he questions himself. ‘I wonder why she’s so reluctant on romance?’

Ken arrived at her apartment about forty minutes later, and Gina lovingly carried her two cocker spaniels out to Ken’s truck and placed them in the back seat. “Now, you two be good for Ken while I’m gone, and I’ll see you in a few days.” She gives her doggies a big hug and a kiss on their forehead.

Ken shouts, “I’ll be back in thirty minutes; you’ll be ready, right?”

“Absolutely!”

As Ken momentarily parked his truck on the departure ramp and lifted Gina’s suitcase, he stated, “You must have enough clothes in here for thirty days.”

“Well, you know. Girls need more clothes than guys.”

“Can I give you a hug before you walk to your departure gate?”

“Yeah, sure.”

 They gently hug when Ken states, “I love the fragrance of your perfume, Gina. Isn’t that the same you used when we were dating?”

“Yes, and we weren’t dating. We’re just friends, remember? So don’t go getting gushed up all over again. You know what, Ken?

“No, what?”

“You really need to get yourself a girlfriend.”

“I was hoping it’d be you.”

 “I’m not going there. I’ll call you when I return in a few days. Please give my doggies a hug from me every day.”

As Ken drives off, he wonders, ‘why is she telling me to get a girlfriend?’

Gina wheels her steel suitcase into the terminal with her small soft pillow-like carry-on and finds a bench to rest for a while. She brought enough clothes to last forty days and will simply discard them when dirty. But, no food. She’ll use the water fountains for her only nourishment. According to Gina’s plan, she’ll sleep on the airport benches for about forty days and then quietly die.

The two cocker spaniels, Missy and Mister, were having a blast in Ken’s big backyard daily. As Ken is feeding them on the fifth day, he asks, “I hope your mom is coming home today.”

On the seventh day, Ken is extremely concerned about not hearing from Gina. His calls to her cell phone go directly to voice mail. ‘Darn it! Dead phone battery!’ Ken mutters.

Sadly, by the seventh day, Gina has hunger pains and begins to scrounge for leftover food at the various food courts throughout the airport. At Gina’s favorite terminal, one of the cleaners, Alice, notices Gina’s predictable behavior and softly walks up to her.

“Young lady, I don’t mean to startle you, but I know that look. I’ve seen it numerous times working at the airport all these years. You’re homeless, right?”

Gina, unable to hold back her tears, lays her head on Alice’s shoulder and begins to cry.

“Come with me. Bring your suitcase and carry on.”

“Where are we going?” Gina quizzingly asks.

“You’ll see. Hop into the elevator,” Alice softly states.

As the elevator drops them off in the airport basement and the doors open, Gina is surprised.

“Is that singing I hear?” Gina curiously inquires.

“Yes, it is, my dear. Chapel worship services are held five times daily, and I’d like to introduce you to the pastor and his wife after the service,” Alice beckons.

“I’m not one bit interested!” Gina shouts. “Thanks for showing me the chapel, but I’m returning to the terminal and continuing my rounds.”

“When security discovers you don’t have a ticket, you’ll be charged with vagrancy and hauled off to jail for a few days. There aren’t any flight delays; you’ll have difficulty convincing security otherwise. So, do you want to reconsider meeting the pastor and his wife?”

“What’s in it for me?” Gina asks.

“First of all, a non-judgmental ear to listen. Some food, shelter, and a shower. How does that sound?” Alice is anticipating a positive reply.

“I don’t want to be asked a thousand questions, not a hundred, not even one question. I’ll meet with the pastor and his wife only under those conditions,” Gina plays it tough.

Meanwhile, Ken is frantic, trying to locate Gina. He drives to her apartment and shockingly sees a sign in the window, ‘furnished apartment for rent.’ Ken agitated knocks loudly on the landlord’s door, and huffingly asks, “Why is Gina’s apartment for rent? Is she behind in rent or something?”

“Oh, she didn’t tell you. By the look on your face, I guess not. Come in for a moment, and I’ll gingerly explain. She lost her job several months ago and got behind on the rent. Instead of eviction, I suggested getting sexual favors for rent, but she refused and sold her car to keep up with the monthly rent. That plan lasted a while until last month when I agreed to buy her furniture for the last rent payment. I guess she left about a week ago or so.”

“Thanks for the info, scumbag!” Ken yells as he slams the door shut in the landlord’s face.

Pastor Jacob and his wife, Cindy, gave Gina full reign of the small kitchenette and shower in the back of the chapel without asking questions. Pastor Jacob had these installed when he took over the chapel ministry for the sole purpose of reaching out to the homeless and others who desperately needed Jesus.

About an hour later, Gina enters the chapel from the back during Pastor Jacob’s short twenty-minute service; three songs and a ten-minute message. Afterward, he asks Gina, “did you find everything okay?”

“Yes, I did, thank you. Please tell your wife thanks also, and now I best be on my way.”

“Where do you think you’re going, Gina?” shouts Cindy as she walks into the chapel carrying a few groceries to replenish the kitchenette.

“I want to thank you for your hospitality, but I need to get back to the terminals and make my daily rounds,” Gina said.

“As Alice stated, if you get caught being homeless upstairs, you’ll spend three days in jail for the first offense. The one thing in life for certain is that you don’t want to spend even a minute in the Chicago Cook County Jail,” Cindy factually states.

Pastor Jacob follows up with, “the other thing in life for certain is that you want Jesus Christ to be your savior every minute of your entire life.”

“I’m not interested. Thanks, but no thanks!” Gina blurts loudly.

“I know we promised you not to ask any questions, but may I ask just one?” Cindy implores.

“Yeah, sure. Go ahead.”

“Why is it that you are not interested in Jesus?”

“My uncle raped me for two years starting at eight years old. He was a pastor. I hate pastors. I hate men. I hate my life. Now that you’ve fed me, I must restart my forty-day schedule to death.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way, Gina,” Pastor Jacob chimes in.

“I suppose you’re going to tell me that Jesus saves,” Gina snaps back.

“Yes, he does. When a farmer finds a rotten apple in a bushel, he doesn’t throw out the entire bushel. Likewise, when encountering a rotten human being, one doesn’t throw out their life,” Pastor Jacob wisely responds.

Cindy also shares, “Christians are not immune to troubles and crisis in life, but with Jesus as their savior, He carries the load making their burdens easier.”

“Gina, my wife and I don’t want you arrested. You’re welcome to stay in this chapel for a while. There are five services you’d have to attend every day. After the last message, you’d have access to the kitchen, shower, and mini washer/dryer combo. You’d be locked in from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. You would have to sleep on one of the pews; usually, a few blankets and pillows make it tolerable. Take your chances upstairs with the terminal security or take your chances with Jesus in the basement. It’s your choice, Gina.”

“How many days is for a while?” Gina curiously asks.

“Thirty-three days. That’s how many messages I have before I repeat them. This way, any frequent traveler won’t hear the same message in a week or a month”

“Okay then! I’ve decided to take my chances with Jesus in the basement. If that’s okay with both of you?”

Pastor Jacob and Cindy give Gina a soft hug and pray over her.

After encountering the landlord, Ken decides to embark on a daily airport crusade hoping to find Gina. Time was not a problem. He had tons of roll-over vacation days to use for this mission. On the eighth day of Gina’s departure, Ken first checks with the airline, asserting if Gina ever boarded a flight to Cleveland.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we never had a Gina Smith booked for a flight to Cleveland in the last ten days. I’ve checked all the manifest logs for those days. I do hope you find her,” stated the airline representative.

“Thank you for checking,” Ken politely states.

He spends the next six hours roaming the terminal showing a picture of Gina to anyone who would listen for ten seconds. But he strikes out and calls it a day and drives home.

Missy and Mister gladly greet Ken as he walks into the house. He stoops down on one knee to pet them and states, “it looks like you two may be stuck with me.”

They lick his face as if saying, ‘that’s alright.’

‘I’m glad I had the doggie door installed last week. Now the two of you can roam the backyard anytime you want.’

For the next 25 days, Ken walks all the terminals at O’Hare, searching and asking if anyone has seen Gina. He mutters,’ it’s been thirty-three days since Gina’s departure. I’ll file a missing person report if I don’t find her today. He decides to continue the search for two more hours on this late Saturday afternoon. But first, Ken takes a short break and while doing so, he spots a cleaning person he had never noticed before.

Ken rapidly approaches the cleaning person. “I don’t mean to startle you, but I’m desperate to find this person.” He shows her the picture of Gina. “By any chance, have you seen her?”

“This is your lucky day, young man. You’ve been blessed. How long have you been searching if I may ask?” Alice inquires.

“Thirty-three days.”

“Well, glory be to God. That’s the exact number of days I first encountered her. I work rotating shifts and catch this section of terminal A  every thirty-three days. By the way, my name is Alice. What’s yours?’

“Ken. So you know where she is?”

“Yes. Follow me to chapel service. We’ll take this elevator down to the basement.”

“Chapel service, basement?” What’s going on here?” Ken was perplexed.

As the elevator doors open, Alice points to the chapel, “you’ll find her inside singing and worshipping. Gina has lived there for thirty-three days and accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior thirteen days ago.”

“I can’t believe this. Miracles sometimes happen when you least expect them. I’ve been praying for Gina to invite Jesus into her heart for almost a year. As you stated, Alice, ‘Glory be to God’.”

“Now, I must caution you, Ken, be patient. There will be a lot of questions you’ll want to ask Gina. In time she’ll answer all. She is a new creature, a new born again Christian. I’ve watched her grow in the Lord every day since she arrived. Hallelujah!”

 “Praise the Lord!” Ken shouts in agreement.

“Now, go in there! Be brave. God will guide you,” Alice gives Ken encouragement.

As Ken opens the chapel doors, Gina turns around out of curiosity and shouts, “Ken, it’s you!” She leaves her pew, runs up to Ken, and embraces him with hugs and kisses.

“I am so glad I found you,” Ken declares.

“I’m so glad you found me also, and I found Jesus.”

“Yes, I know. Alice filled me in on some of the details.”

Pastor Jacob and Cindy approach the two lovebirds. “apparently, you know this young man, Gina,” Pastor Jacob states.

“Yes. Ken’s the long-lost love of my life. If he takes me back, I’ll be his forever along with Jesus.”

Cindy shares with her husband, “I think, honey, we should grab a bite to eat upstairs for a few hours. Ken and Gina need some time to catch up, on the basics at least.”

“I was thinking the same, sweetheart. Ken, here’s my phone number should you need anything. You’ll be locked up for 2 hours, but we’ll return at about 11:30 p.m. Is that okay with you?”

“Sure. I’ll call if needed.”

So, Ken and Gina discussed everything for about ninety minutes when Ken called Pastor Jacob.

“What’s up?” Pastor Jacob casually answers.

“I don’t know if you can, but Gina and I have a special request. Can you and Cindy return now?”

“Sure, we’ll be there shortly.”

Pastor Jacob and Cindy listen intently to the request Ken and Gina have, and after listening, Pastor Jacob makes an announcement on the public address system in Terminal A.

“Ladies and gentlemen, chapel services are having a special occasion at 11:45 p.m. this evening. A wedding! You’re all invited!”

Over twenty-four guests arrived for this unique and timely celebration.

“By the power invested in me by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,” Pastor Jacob states.

Cindy makes the other announcement, “honored guests, I’d like to introduce you to Gina and Ken Canton!”

When Gina and Ken open the chapel doors, they’re greeted by another dozen guests. Indeed, their cup runneth over.

ONE YEAR LATER        

On their wedding anniversary, Gina and Ken have a formal wedding inside a church with Pastor Jacob residing. Before the vows are taken, Cindy reads Gina’s testimony.

“I knew of Jesus in my youth but never really got to know him as an adult. I was like a prodigal daughter. I knew Jesus was tempted for forty days and thought I’d try that and end my life quietly. But, Jesus foiled my plans. He placed Alice, Pastor Jacob, and his wife, Cindy, in my path. I thank God He did! In my book, they are the Airport Saints! Today, I’m officially marrying the same man again, the love of my life. My husband, Ken.”

They lived happily ever after with Missy and Mister in the big backyard. Incidentally, wanting to celebrate the food at O’Hare, Gina and Ken had their reception catered by the airport food vendors. It was only fitting as an honor for this special occasion.


Brandon J Rosenberg is the Christian author of the Cedar Creek County Mystery and Thriller Series. He has the unique craft of combining Christianity and Worldly living into a compelling fictional story of how God can change anyone’s life. His stories are filled with intrigue, flirty romance, humor, and heartfelt miracles that will inspire you to the last page.

Enjoy reading all his books in the Cedar Creek County Mystery and Thriller Series.

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