Before It Departed: The Haunting Final Moments of MH17 at Schipol Airport, As Remembered By One Of Its Gate Agents
A smile, a greeting, a happy face ..by Renuka Manisha Virangna Birbal
At the transfer desk, I get two football fanatics, one is checked in and the other not, "can you check me in Love". They were not seated next to each other in the business compartment , "would you like to sit together sir?" Any doubt,, I want a few hours of rest joked the other one. ‘’cheers’’
A loving family of six with their 10 pieces luggage that I had to put in the system. "After long time we're returning home"
It was busy at the check in desk, so I went there to help my colleagues.
A child smiling and waving at me.
They thank me for my help so she could sit together. excited children "mom when do we see our luggage again?"
The crew running towards me waving and signaling. They were ready to drop their luggage at the baggage belt.
A man who is about to start a new life in Malaysia.
A family get dropped off by their grandparents, kids first holiday far away.
Grandma makes photos of how her children and grand children check in. This time I do not mind that I am in the picture.
Arriving at the gate G03 a young man asked if he has time to buy something quickly. "Of course, sir, if you only ensures that you are back here at 1130."
My colleague helps an elderly woman inside, all the way to her seat in row 21, she had difficulty walking and traveling alone. The lady had the same name (one letter difference) as the son of my colleague and said that she would remembered the name.
I appeal to everyone to go to the toilet before they enter the gate because there are no toilet facilities at gate G03. A few passengers went back out of the line.
A woman traveling with her husband and her mother still asks her mother a few times if she had to go to the toilet, the elderly lady has a bladder problem. I allowed them to wait outside and they can come inside the priority line when their ready.
A newly married couple, on the way to their honeymoon.
A beautiful little girl hold by her mother, her father behind them pushing the stroller. What is she beautiful, a half Dutch half Malaysian with beautiful big eyes. She kindly smiled at me.
A man who could still join the flight to be on time for the funeral of his mother.
Grandchildren traveling with their grandparents.
Suddenly I see a familiar face, it is our colleague from the MH ticket counter
He proudly shows me his son, wife and daughter. With a big smile he waved "See you soon"
A woman wants to go out of the gate to use the toilet, unfortunately, we have already begun boarding and nobody can go out. "May I board first then?" of course.
I walk quickly along with the last two passengers who may eventually join the flight, and what are they happy ...
A final farewell to the crew, till next time!
And then we removed the bridge.
Passengers traveling for business, on the way home, on the way to family, on the way to their holiday, on the way to a new beginning ...
Group travel, families, couples, individuals, infants, children, grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, partners, uncles, aunts, colleagues, friends, neighbors, acquaintances.
The last time I saw them, talked to them and wish them a pleasant flight the passengers of flight MH017 on the 17th of Jul 2014.
One last smile, one last salute, a happy face ...
+ Rest in peace dear passengers & crew +
On behalf of the ground handling agents of flight MH017 on Thursday 17-07-2014