Young Footballer Trapped In Airport Terminal For 74 Days
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Randy Juan Muller
Straight out of Spielberg’sThe Terminal,Randy Juan Muller lived in an Indian airport for over 2 months.
The Ghanaian footballer was left in limbo once the coronavirus lockdown shut down all flights.
The twenty-three-year-old flew to India on 07NOV, 2019 for a six-month contract to play soccer for ORPC Sports Club in Kerala, India.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread, Muller booked a flight home to Ghana for 30MAR.
"I heard about the possibility of a lockdown in India ... so I came to Mumbai to stay in a dormitory so I wouldn't miss my flight," Muller said.
When he arrived in Mumbai on 21MAR, however, he was low on cash and struggled to find a room. He sought help from the police, who suggested he wait for his flight at the airport.
Three days later, India entered a 21-day nationwide lockdown and all international flights were cancelled.
Muller decided to sleep in the departures hall of BOM until international flights resumed. Little did he know, the lockdown would keep being extended, and days would turn into weeks of him calling the airport 'home'.
Airport staff and passers-by were "very helpful" said Muller, giving the young man food. One security guard even replaced his phone after it was damaged.
Muller called the Ghanaian Consulate in Mumbai, but says he was told there was little they could do during the lockdown.
"I never got worried because I knew one day I'd get home," he says. "I tried to stay strong and motivated ...There are things in life you can never change."
Muller's ordeal came to an end in early JUN, after he made an appeal on Twitter.
A local journalist who saw his tweets shared his appeal for help and tagged Aaditya Thackeray, the state's tourism and environment minister, who is also president of the Mumbai District Football Association.
It helps to have friends in high places.
Within mere hours, Muller was taken to a hotel where he will stay until he's able to take a flight home.
Who knew all it took was a Twitter post?
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.