Alfredo Sanchez was sitting at the lunch table with four strangers — one of whom had nearly killed him less than an hour earlier. With that behind him, Sanchez was eager to sink his teeth into his meal. In one breath he uttered something in English. Then, his curiosity piqued when the Asian woman who had nearly decapitated him earlier said: “I’m from Korea.” In his next breath, Alfredo uttered Korean phrases to the woman’s utter surprise. The other strangers at the table wondered what the Alfredo and the Korean woman were saying as their language was Spanish. Not to leave anybody out of the conversation, Sanchez retold a story to engage the couple from Costa Rica. Everybody at the table rejoiced in their common understanding. The Korean woman, like Alfredo, speaks English, Spanish, and her native, Korean. How had Alfredo wound up in such a position that demanded such linguistic dexterity?
It was the fourth day of the new year, 2019, when Alfredo suddenly awoke from his slumber to check his cellphone clock which was just one minute from turning to 1:09am.
There he was experiencing another random occurrence with 109 and as his experiences have proven, this day would be lucky. He returned to bed, but the tone for the day had already been set by this miraculous coincidence.
When Alfredo finally awoke from bed to begin his day, he had the good fortune of awaking at 6:25am which left him with an hour and twenty minutes to prepare for his day’s journey to the rock at Guatape, Colombia.
Alfredo got dressed and headed out to meet the Über driver whom he requested.
After Alfredo was dropped off at his tour meeting point, and some time during which everybody waited for the other tourists arrival, they made their way to Guatape. At some point on the journey, after climbing to the top of the rock at Guatape, and after boarding the bus in preparation to head to the next destination, Alfredo eagerly stuck his head out of the window to snap a final photo of the monstrous rock when he nearly had his head smashed between the window and it’s seal. The passenger seated behind him had in that instance decided she wanted to open her window perhaps to snap the same photo.
Luckily for Alfredo, his head was not smashed nor was his neck snapped because of his quick reflexes.
In that moment Alfredo thought that woman was Chinese. With all the images of poorly constructed bicycles that flooded markets to undercut better made brands, sweatshops where cheap products are made, and delicious won-ton soup filled Alfredo’s imagination. Without saying a word, Alfredo stared at this woman and let her know that he was none too pleased with the haphazard fashion with which she opened the window. Her apology served little in that moment.
About an hour later when the tour group stopped for lunch, Alfredo was seated at the same table as that dangerous China woman. There he was sitting across from his would-be killer. They both made no mention of the previous event and proceeded to eat. At the table was also a man from Taiwan and a couple from Costa Rica.
The guests at the table were a perfect reflection of Alfredo’s life experiences. This random arrangement of strangers was the culmination of language training and life experiences. Just as Alfredo’s coincidental encounter with 109 at 1:09am that morning, something lucky happened that saved his life and put him in the most comfortable position.