Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/1/2010 (3842 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It started out as the flight from hell and ended with a taste of heaven. On her way home from Christmas spent with her daughter in Corpus Christi, Texas, 80-year-old Elsie Clark found herself stranded in a deserted corner of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport Wednesday.
Clark has trouble with her hip and asked to be taken by wheelchair to her connecting gate, but she was dumped at the wrong one. By the time she found someone to help her, she'd missed her flight to Winnipeg.
With nary an apology -- even though Clark was in tears -- airline staff booked her on a later flight to Chicago.
That's when her luck changed.
"He was my guardian angel," said Clark from her tidy West End home Saturday. "I hope someone will hear this story and know what he did and it will catch on."
On the flight to Chicago, Clark struck up a conversation with a young businessman across the aisle.
"I asked him about his shoes," she said. "Ever since I was a kid, I've always been fascinated by very shiny shoes."
(That's because, as a farm girl in Saskatchewan, she accidentally told an undercover RCMP officer with very shiny shoes about her uncle's homebrew operation out in the bush. But that's another story.)
The man across the aisle, Dean Germeyer, must have overheard Clark fretting to the flight attendant about making her tight connection to Winnipeg.
Knowing about her trouble in Dallas, Germeyer quietly arranged for Clark to get off the plane first with him so he could escort her to her gate. But Clark again missed her flight, this time by ten minutes. She hadn't eaten for hours and was very upset.
"I would have sat there on a bench all night and waited for the next plane in the morning," said Clark, who is on a fixed income and blanched at the thought of a $75 cab ride into Chicago. "But he said 'Elsie, I'll look after you. I've called my wife and you're coming over for dinner.'"
Turned out Germeyer, an executive with the global information technology firm ACS, lived in a condo on the 56th floor of a posh downtown highrise, with views of the Wrigley Building and Trump Tower.
After dinner, Germeyer took Clark for a tour of the city in his BMW and dropped her off at a chic boutique hotel for the night, all paid for.
"He walked in with me on his arm so I wouldn't slip and said, 'look after this lady,'" she said. "When I got up to my room, it wasn't a room, it was a suite! I had to use my cane just to walk to the bathroom."
Since Clark had no luggage -- it arrived in Winnipeg before she did -- Germeyer arranged to have some toiletries and snacks sent to the room. The next morning, Germeyer sent a limousine to pick her up for the early morning flight back to Winnipeg.
"Have you ever heard anything like it before in your life?" asked Clark. "My daughter asked if he had a brother!"
Later, Clark phoned Germeyer's parents to speak to them and they said they'd already heard the story.
"He told them he couldn't sleep knowing he'd left that lady stuck in the airport."
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.