The Tale of Declan the Hero

For the Mitchell Scholarship Orientation in Dublin, Sasha and I took a bus from Belfast, where we both attend Queen’s University, Belfast. We arrived with a few hours to spare  before the reception at Google HQ. We got off the bus after our ~2 hour journey and sped to the nearest bathroom before exploring Dublin. Within moments of the bus rapidly pulling away, I realized we had forgotten something very important – our two suitcases…containing our formal attire for that evening…oh no.

After a brief (slightly panicked) phone call to the bus company, we were told that our best bet was to wait until we got a phone call from the HQ at the airport. Given the bus schedule, we had 120 minutes until the bus with our luggage would arrive back at the airport. This was a problem because we only had about 90 minutes until we had to walk to the reception – less time than we needed to engage in Operation Retrieve Luggage from Airport.

Therefore, we decided to engage in Operation Stop all Buses. We stood by a bus stop, stopping every bus from this company and asking to look at the luggage in case we ‘caught our bus.’ After more than an hour of this, since we were now late for departure to the reception, we abandoned Operation Stop All Buses.

I was lucky enough to room with Julianne, who plans ahead and had brought two formal dresses and two formal sets of shoes. This meant that I was essentially the luckiest person in Dublin. I could wear her second dress and second set of shoes! This I did. Sasha, however, due to his extreme height, was unable to find a set of clothing that would fit him and had to attend the reception sporting his Queen’s University Belfast sweatshirt. He pulled it off though!

At this point we had about 15 minutes until the start of the reception itself, which was a 30 minute walk away. Commence Operation Taxi in which we, unsurprisingly, given the name of the operation, took a taxi to the Google HQ. On the way, I tried calling the bus company once more to check on our luggage, which should have arrived at the airport by now.

The automatic message informed me that the bus company’s airport office had closed. Excellent! It was increasingly looking like we would have to taxi to the airport post-reception to search for our luggage, which may or may not have ever arrived.

Cue Declan the Hero. Our friendly taxi driver overheard my phone calls and our subsequent discussion about how we would retrieve our luggage. He seemed concerned for us. Declan then offered to drive to the airport and search for our luggage for us. We left Declan outside of Google HQ, warmed by the kindness of his offer.

The reception itself was wonderful! I enjoyed socializing with my fellow Mitchells and with the many impressive guests. I did eventually get a phone call. From Declan.

I stepped out, and called Declan back – he had found our luggage. He was under no obligation to help us out in our time of need, and yet he did. He truly saved the day.

I love Ireland, I decided. The hospitality and kindness shown to us by Declan absolutely blew me away. Furthermore, the kindness of all of the people I’ve met in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland has been extraordinary, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to get to know so many genuine people.

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