I doubled over on the brown leather chair of the waiting room as the pain in my stomach returned and took a sip of water from the bottle I’d been nursing since spending the flight from Melbourne to Singapore throwing up.
The lady who’d driven me from arrivals in the airport car was holding out her hand.
I produced my documents and asked her how long I’d have to wait to see the doctor, knowing my transfer to London was in 25 minutes.
Qantas had told that I wouldn’t be allowed back on the flight to London unless I saw the doctor and got a certificate of fitness to travel.
“Not long” she said, “he be here soon.”
That’s when the guy sat next to me piped up in an unmistakable British accent.
“Really?” He said, “because you said that 10 minutes ago.”
Okay, now I was worried.
I needed to make that flight. I needed to get home for my Grampy’s funeral.
I didn’t care how much pain I was in or how much I could feel sloshing around in my stomach.
I wanted to know how much this whole ordeal was going to cost me.
“Um” I started, trying and failing to hold back tears, “how much is seeing the doctor going to cost me?”
The lady in the pink blazer answered: “$100”
“Singapore dollars?” I said.
“How much is that in pounds or New Zealand dollars?”
“It’s about £70” – it was the British guy again, the one who’d now seen the doctor and was paying for his medication.
I thanked him, feeling a little better knowing that I could afford this, that visiting the doctor in Singapore in the middle of the night wasn’t going to bankrupt me.
Then the British guy spoke again.
“Have you got enough money?”
I looked up at this stranger’s face; this complete stranger who didn’t even know my name, who didn’t know anything about me.
“Yes, I have enough money” I said, giving what I hoped was a grateful smile, “but thank you. Thank you so much.”
Would he have paid for me if I couldn’t have paid for myself?
Would he have handed over his credit card and scrawled his email address on a piece of paper so that I could pay him back at a later date?
I don’t know and I don’t care.
In that moment he cared enough to ask and that was enough for me.