People Share The Saddest Goodbyes They’ve Seen At An Airport

October 10, 2019 | Dylan Fleury

People Share The Saddest Goodbyes They’ve Seen At An Airport

Sure, the airport goodbye may sound cliché to people who have never actually witnessed one in real life. But for people in the know, these tender farewells can be heartbreaking, heartwarming, beautiful, or devastating. Not all airport goodbyes revolve around two people in a romantic relationship, as these stories from Reddit will show. They can also involve family members before one is deployed or deported, or a kid saying goodbye to their parents before heading off to a new country for school or work. Some goodbyes even happen on arrivals and not departures. At the end of the day, goodbyes are always hard but for some reason, they seem harder and more emotional when an airport is involved. So, before reading on, maybe make sure a box of tissues is close by.

1. Denied a Proper Goodbye

My family is based in the Philippines but my dad was British and he had to go home because of his cancer. My sister was denied a passport/citizenship by the UK so she needed a visa with my mom. I didn’t need one. We sent him ahead and planned to follow him after my sister's visa came through. But then everything changed for the worse. 

The embassy denied my mom and sister's visa requests. The look on my sister’s face when she said goodbye to my father at the airport broke me. She couldn’t let go of his hand. Security had to follow her and gently tell her to return to us as she had run to follow my dad. Her wails when she found out she couldn’t see my dad broke.

We thought it couldn't get worse, but when the letter of denial arrived it all felt so terribly real. In the end, I had to fly alone to take care of my dad. They never got to say goodbye properly when he died, because the cancer took him so quick. My sister was eight years old when that happened and it still breaks my heart.

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2. Too Young to Understand

I saw a soldier saying goodbye to his newborn child. That kind of messed me up a little. I had to look away.

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3. Blast From the Past

I have a newspaper article of my dad holding me at the deployment send off. It makes me so sad. He's still here, but it's a glimpse into the life I don't remember. You see, after that photo was taken, everything changed. When my dad came back, my parents just couldn't make it work. They got divorced. That photo is one of only a few pictures of us all together.

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4. Three Life-Changing Days

I met the love of my life and only got to spend three days with her before she got on a plane back to Japan, where she was living at the time. It would be six months until I saw her again. We’ve been married for 15 years last month.

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5. Not Nearly Enough Time

This hurts me. I got to come back from a year-long tour in Korea for the birth of my first kid—a boy. I got to be in the United States for 24 days, six hours, and 41 minutes before I had to get on a plane to go back. I had to bite my cheeks bloody to keep it together on that plane. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I have never cried so hard in my whole life the night before.

Good thing I have a supportive, amazing wife who understood and took care of every other aspect of my life.

Airport Goodbyes FactsFlickr, ThoroughlyReviewed

6. Family Is More Than Blood

I saw a family of three—mom, dad, and teenage son—saying goodbye to another younger guy they had hosted at their house for an exchange program or something. The mom was crying and saying that he was part of the family and to visit whenever he wanted. The guy leaving looked pretty torn up but the dad and the teenage son looked pretty stoic.

As the exchange student was leaving, he said goodbye to each of them by hugging them and calling them mom, dad, and brother. The dad and teenage son literally burst into tears and started sobbing really loudly. It was really sweet but really sad.

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7. Being With the Love of Your Life—Priceless

The most heartbreaking airport goodbye I had was after visiting my girlfriend in England for the first time. She is British, I'm Canadian, and we met online through a mutual friend and immediately clicked. I was only 18 at the time and had no idea how I was going to fly to Europe to meet her. Eventually, after 18 months of online dating, I managed to save up enough to stay in the UK with her and her family for a month. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done.

Visiting London and seeing the sights was incredible and meeting her in the airport was such a relief. Seeing her not as a picture in my phone, voice in my headset, or face on my computer, but as a real person lead to so many emotions. We did everything together and were inseparable and her family loved me, just like I loved them.

Eventually, the time came and I had to leave. The final few days of the trip turned from excitement and happiness to curled up in bed watching movies and lots of crying. It was heartbreaking holding her and assuring her that I would see her again, but the truth was I couldn't guarantee that. This trip cost me thousands of dollars and I had no idea of when or even if I would ever see her again.

Once my luggage was checked and I went through security, the sobbing really started. Long-distance is brutal and I don't wish it on anybody. In the end, I managed to go two more times. I spent six weeks in England the next year and then flew again before Christmas to propose. We've been married for nearly two years now and she's the love of my life.

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8. Gets Harder and Harder Every Time

Saying goodbye to my 7-year-old daughter as I left for a 10-month deployment. I deployed fairly often in our marriage and when the kids were little, those were somewhat easy. The wife understood and the kids were so young that they got through it fairly easy. This deployment was right after our family spent 18 months living in an RV, spending every moment together hiking on the California coast.

My daughter and I had grown particularly close. I taught her to read, I walked her to school each day, we spent evenings on the beach, and rainy days coloring together or watching Doctor Who. Even worse, I had almost no notice about this deployment. One moment we are back in North Carolina on another camping trip and two weeks later I am leaving for 10 plus months. This was the first time she understood—albeit in a limited way—some of the dangers associated with the trip and the length of time.

I will always remember her soul-wrenching sobbing as I left. As a follow up, I helped her over the trip by writing her, her sister and her mother daily. I even got access to several dozen children's books and read them to her on a DVD and then sent them to her as a package weekly. Even though she is now turning 16, I occasionally see her looking through them from time to time.

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9. Is Everything OK in There?

When I met my significant other, she told me she was going to spend a year abroad in Europe for her last year of college. We were together for about a year and a half before she left for Europe. At the airport, after spending two weeks abroad with her to help her set up her apartment and school things, I managed to keep it together until I reached the bathroom of the waiting area. Then I cried for probably 10 to 15 minutes straight, until my entire face hurt.

Long distance relationships are hard, but we managed to text every day and Skype every other day. It was difficult, but we made it through and just got done moving in together.

Airport Goodbyes FactsFlickr, Kathryn Connell

10. Helping Him Through a Tough Time

I used to be a wheelchair attendant for an international airport. I was assisting the gentleman to get the wheelchair and his wife was explaining to him it would only be for a few weeks and that everything would be OK. The man starts crying, saying he doesn't want to be far away and he's concerned about his visit back home.

She consoles him and asks me to make sure he gets to the gate OK. I gave my word that I would. So, as we're going through security, I begin talking to him and I find out why he was so upset. This guy was a Scottish World War II veteran and he was going back home for the first time since leaving after returning from the war.

He began to tell me his life story, how he lost both his older and younger brother during Dunkirk because the British army required the Scottish military members to hold back the Nazis while the British troops escaped. He told me how he got injured in combat and was treated by an American medic that later became his wife.

He told me of his jobs after the war, about his children, about his grandchildren and how he has a great grandchild on the way. He then told me about why he's going back home after all this time in America. It was because he had cancer that likely will be untreatable and he wanted to stay in his home village and try to get medical treatment there until the end.

However, his wife had to work another week or so and wouldn't be in the country. He was upset because he didn't want to pass away with her not by his side. I had to hide my tears after that one. After hearing all that, I perfectly understood why he was getting emotional. His flight wasn't taking off for a few hours after I dropped him off so that day I checked up on him every hour, had lunch with him, and eventually other people started hanging out with him when they noticed he was alone.

He began smiling and laughing with them. But just thinking about him gets me teary-eyed.

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11. Not a Happy Memory

My great-grandparents left England for Australia in the 60s. My dads’ earliest memory is of his very stoic grandfather standing on the station with tears pouring down his face as my dad kept yelling, “I want my grandpa.” He never saw any of them again.

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12. Pain, Loss and Grief

I was a wheelchair attendant at the airport. I got used to carrying tissues in my bag because of the many tearful goodbyes I witnessed. The saddest ones were definitely the international departures. You could tell that the distance and expense got to people. They just didn't know how long it would be before they saw each other again.

I once saw a mother and daughter saying good-bye. The daughter, who looks pregnant, is my wheelchair passenger. I figure she is having some complications with the pregnancy. There is more than the usual amount of tears. When they are done, I’m taking the daughter through TSA, asking normal questions about liquid in her bag, electronic devices in her pocket, etc. I phrased the question something like, "are you carrying anything else, besides the baby?" in a lighthearted tone.

Her reply broke my heart. She says "No baby." My heart just dropped. It turns out that mom literally had to pick her up from the hospital and drive her directly to the airport after having a miscarriage, thus needing the wheelchair. After we got through TSA, she got out a small stuffed animal, obviously meant for her infant, and cried silently into it the rest of the way to the gate.

I also saw a woman traveling back to the Ukraine. The passenger, clearly ill, sits down in the wheelchair and I step back to let the family say goodbye. Of course, there are a lot of tears. The adult daughter is inconsolable. As I am pushing the passenger to the gate, I'm chatting with my passenger's traveling companion, who is walking with us. The companion reveals the awful truth. My wheelchair passenger is terminal. It was likely the last time the daughter would see her alive.

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13. It Never Gets Any Easier

Being from Venezuela, I've seen a fair share of goodbyes, including my own. They’re heartbreaking—families being torn apart because someone is searching for a better future. I remember when I first left, my mom was falling apart watching her little boy disappear behind airport security. I remember being numb, like I was watching my life from the outside.

I visited about seven months later. I had difficulty adjusting to the US and the cultural shock hit me pretty hard. I remember hugging a friend goodbye when I had to catch my plane back and sobbing as though I was marching to my own execution, saying between my wallowing that I didn’t want to be alone anymore.

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14. Terrible Timing

Before I was born, my mom had breast cancer. When I turned seven, she was told she had uterine cancer—by the grace of God, they caught it SUPER early. My parents were in the midst of a divorce but obviously put it on pause so my dad could help my mom in every way. He was working for Rubbermaid at the time and used all of his time off to take care of mom and take her to treatments and such.

Rubbermaid decided that dad needed to go to China to take care of some issues that had arisen with a product he had designed. My sisters and I took him to the airport and my dad started tearing up and told us to take care of mom and each other while he was gone. Apparently, the look on our faces was pretty upsetting to other people around us because dad said that on the flight, a lady stopped him and hugged him, saying she was praying for our family.

He came home two weeks later and mom went into remission—and has remained cancer-free for 20 years! They did end up getting a divorce but it was pretty amicable. Oh, and he quit Rubbermaid after he got home and was offered a general manager position of a plant of a smaller company where he has stayed since. He strongly dislikes Rubbermaid, as he missed several of our birthdays due to work, traveling for work and last minute "crises" that would arise.

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15. Oscar Worthy Performance

A mid to late 20s couple was doing the typical sobbing, hugging, loving and affection emotions towards each other. This went on for a while, I think the guy was going overseas for a company thing but didn't catch it, until they HAD to part. The guy did the walking backward, waving, blowing kisses, etc, etc. She stood there waving, being all emotional herself.

The second he was out of sight, she did a complete 180, emotionally and physically. I couldn't believe my eyes. She just turned on a dime! She walked away and went straight into the arms of another guy waiting at a bar. She said something along the lines of, “OK, the boy is gone, let's go!”

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16. Everyone Has a Breaking Point

Saying goodbye to my boyfriend at the airport a couple of weeks ago was the first time I've ever seen him cry. I was already a sobbing mess but seeing him sob was the most heartbreaking moment for me. We won't be able to meet up again for another year or two when I can move to be with him permanently.

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17. Front Row Seat

I work in a gift shop that’s right in front of the TSA checkpoint. An older woman was saying goodbye to someone who I assume was her grandson or son. She broke down on the floor after he left, sobbing and screaming that she’s never going to have a chance to see him again. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I wanted to give her a hug.

On the upside, I get to see a lot of reunions and a lot of people bring big ole doggos to pick up their humans. It’s absolutely adorable.

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18. Seeing Life Before Death

My Danish mother met my father at 23 and immigrated to the USA to be with him. Fast forward 30 years—my grandma comes to the states for one last visit, as she was terminally ill and knew that time was not on her side. She got to meet my newborn daughter and we spent two weeks just enjoying each other’s company. But when it was time for her to leave it was essentially “goodbye forever” because we all knew it was the last time we would ever see her again. She passed away on August 1. RIP Gram.

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19. Nothing Can Prepare You

I’ll never forget the day I left home from Hong Kong to study in London. Years before this, when I dreamt about studying abroad, I was terrified of the actual goodbye moment. I cried in our car right away, and at the last minute near the gate, my mom cried too. She patted my shoulder and could barely say, “buh bye” when security was checking my passport.

I still remember I tried to control my feelings so hard, and one of the reasons was that I was afraid the airport workers would see this. But I guess they witness such dramatic scenes often? So, it’s okay. I’m enjoying summer holiday now at home and already feeling bit anxious for September.

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20. Love Makes It Harder

A lady came in with her husband to get on an Angel Flight, where pilots donate a flight for people who need to get to medical—mainly cancer I think—appointments in larger cities. She clearly looked ill but you could tell she was a feisty one. Her husband and her were holding it together during the goodbye. She got on the plane just fine, then her and the pilot took off. Her husband stayed and watched from the window in our lobby until they were in the air out of sight then quietly walked out the door.

You could just tell she means the world to him and what I found heartbreaking was the amount of worry that he was experiencing at that moment. Good news, though. I saw them fly out several more times and she got more of her feistiness and color back each time. I haven't seen her in a while and I hope that's a good sign.

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21. All the More Reason Not to Go

I once saw a teen—probably 17 or 19—getting on a plane to go to college. One of their parents was obviously dying of cancer or something, as I overheard them while in line for a cinnamon bun or something. There were lots of, “I don’t want you to put your life on hold for me” and “I don’t want you to see me when I get worse” comments in between sob crying hugs. To be honest, I bit my lip while going through security so I wouldn't tear up.

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22. Longer Than Expected

When I put my seven-year-old stepson on a plane to visit his mom for the summer, I didn't realize the weight of my actions. It would be the last time I'd get to see him for a year because his dad and I were divorcing. My son must have understood. He tried to jump out of my arms and kept yelling for “Mister”—that's what I called his step-brother.

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23. Leaving Everything Behind

Leaving my family and friends to go to college in the US—originally from Europe—when I was 17. I knew I wouldn’t see any of my family or friends for nine months, that I would celebrate Christmas, New Years, and my eighteenth birthday without them. Hugging my family before going through security, seeing and hearing my little sister sobbing and my mom—who is really tough and barely shows any emotion—crying was so, so, so hard.

And I was a sobbing mess myself for the whole eight-hour plane ride.

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24. Saying Goodbye on Arrival

This happened to one of my employees. He went back to his home country, which he hadn’t visited in many years. His elderly father insisted on coming to the airport with his brother to pick him up. While going through customs, the unthinkable occurred. His dad had a heart attack in the arrival waiting area and passed away.

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25. There Until the End

Mine would have to be saying goodbye to my boyfriend. We had been stationed together for about a year and were going to new bases on opposite sides of the world. We had spent two weeks together in his hometown and I was going back to my base before he was heading to his. We said goodbye at the airport, not knowing when we would be able to see each other again. I was in tears and could barely hold it together as I waited in line for TSA.

He’s not a very expressive guy and doesn’t really react in emotional ways, but he waited in one spot and I zigzagged my way up the queue. It was such a small gesture but meant so much that he would wait until he could catch me a few more times before leaving. I’m tearing up just thinking about it. I love him so much.

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26. Losing a Second Family

I used to live in China when I was a young child. I was looked after a fair bit by my aunt and my grandma on my mum's side. My parents were sometimes away working in other places. Eventually, they moved to Britain, and I spent a year or so in China with my aunt and grandma and the extended family on my mum's side. They kind of became like my parents, in a way. Then my parents came back to bring me to Britain, as well.

So I left my aunt and grandma and everyone else I loved behind. It wasn't so sad initially because I didn't realize it was permanent. I was really young and thought I would be going back. But when I left again after I went back to visit some years later, it sank in. I couldn't stop myself from tearing up going through security. I made myself look away and not look back, partially because I knew I had to move forward and wouldn't keep walking if I looked back. But there was another reason: when I was much younger, my aunt would cheer me up when I cried by telling me that I'm a big strong young man. I didn't want her to see me falling apart.

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27. A Furry Companion

The worst thing that I have ever seen was at the San Diego airport. I was waiting in line behind a dad, his two kids, and their dog at the cargo area where you take your pets—before you get mad, Reddit, this was like 15 years ago before I knew how horrible airline transport is for animals. Everyone was crying. I couldn’t help but overhear the whole story.

The family was down to their last dollar after moving to California for a now failed business and were flying home. The dad had no idea that he needed a health certificate for his dog to fly. Their flight was leaving soon, and they had no family or friends in the area and no money to wait a few days for a vet appointment.

I was there to send my cats home to Maryland ahead of me and I had to drive my car across the country. I asked where the dog needed to go—Ohio—so I drove the dog home. They were so desperate that they just handed their dog to a stranger. One of the weirdest things I’ve ever done. I love dogs, and that was a sweet dog, but three long days in the back of my little Dodge Neon and we were very happy to be rid of each other.

I still think about him though. We had a few adventures but that was a rough trip.

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28. A Family Torn Apart

One time I was sitting and waiting for my flight and these two police officers were waiting by a gate. The flight gets in and the people start filing out. A mom and a younger daughter come out and the daughter bursts into tears when she sees the police officers. The officers talk to what I assume was the grandmother. I don't really know.

I don't know how any of them were related really, I just know the oldest lady was taken away to be talked to and the mom and daughter were behind talking with the other cop. The daughter was sobbing. I feel like it was something to do with immigration. It was really sad.

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29. Divorce Is Hardest on the Kids

I worked as an airport employee for a while. One of my duties was to accompany minors who were flying alone. Well, there was this tiny boy—10 at the time—that I had to meet after his check-in. His mom checked him in. She saw me waiting and said, "Can you give me a few minutes to say goodbye?" I said sure and stepped aside.

She then knelt so she could look the boy in the eye. She brought him to me after a few minutes so I walked with the boy towards the gate. He looked sad, so I made small talk and told him where he was going and if he was meeting someone where he was going. Apparently, his parents were separated and his mom was sending him to his dad because she couldn’t afford to feed him adequately and send him to school.

She also couldn’t afford a roundtrip plane ticket to go with him, which is why the kid was flying alone. He said he was never going to see his mom again because he was sure his dad wouldn’t allow him to. As a child of a bad divorce myself, his story broke my heart.

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30. Gone Too Soon

When my friends and I were saying goodbye to our foreign exchange student friend who was going back to her country. She brought us so much joy in the 10 months we got to know her and we were all so devastated to say goodbye. One girl in particular was super close to her that they were practically one person.  Watching the two of them in tears hugging as they said goodbye was so heartbreaking.

They were such good friends and complimented each other so well.

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31. Getting a Chance to Say Goodbye

Sometimes I will work the military flights coming in with a fallen soldier. I can usually keep my composure until the terrible moment comes. It happens every time, but it never stops feeling like a punch to the gut. It's when they let the family go up to the coffin. I couldn’t imagine that kind of pain. Makes me think of how lucky I am.

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32. One Last Flight

One day I got a phone call that made my blood run cold. My friend worked for multiple airlines at the airport. Everyone liked him. When I picked up the phone, I learned that he had randomly died in his sleep. He was so young. It devastated everyone in our small airport family. His family wanted to bury him in his hometown so we had to ship his body away.

Basically, the whole airport had stopped operating while his friends loaded his body onto the aircraft taking him home. The whole ceremony was very emotional but I'm glad he got to take to the air even after death.

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33. Thank You for Your Service

I had to unload a casket and body of an air force serviceman who died from a motorcycle accident at his base. I watched his wife and family break down at the gate when we took the coffin down from the planes cargo hold. I had to crawl in there and place the American flag over the wooden coffin used to transport the body before we could get it on the belt loader.

I cried and still remember this over 10 years later.

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34. Take a Hint

Not as tragic as the other responses but kind of ironically funny. A long distance relationship fell apart for various reasons—her difficulties expressing her feelings with words and me being too needy—during a visit and she took me back to the airport. We both looked understandably distraught. The guy at the gate thought we were sad about saying goodbye, so he was so happy to give us a nice announcementor what should've been nice.

Just our luck, we were in the only airport in the US that allows non-passengers to accompany people to the gate, so she could come with me to my flight. I said that it wouldn't be necessary and he insisted, very enthusiastically, “Are you sure? You can spend more time together!” After him insisting several times I had to spell it out, “Dude. She. Is. Not. Coming. With. Me.”

He finally got it and went “Oh…” The rest of the check-in took on a somber tone.

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35. Not Wanting to Let Go

I had just gotten married and was leaving my husband to finish my last three months of school. My whole body wanted to stay and tears were welling up. He took me and told me, “we don't do this.” I nodded and half-smiled. We had a hard time letting our hands part. I took the flight back feeling like I should have just said "forget college" and stayed.

I never saw him again. He died in a car crash a few days before my final exams.

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36. Connected by Grief

I live long distance from my fiancé and only get to see her a couple times a year because of work. A few trips back, I was standing in the TSA line and I saw a couple hugging and sobbing. I didn't know their circumstances, but to know that I was going to be hugging and crying with my fiancé just 10 days later really messed me up. They had no idea, but I cried with them that day.

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37. Symbol of Her Love

I'll always remember my family friend telling me this. He worked in one of those gift shops. This woman came in with her tween daughter and got her a t-shirt. Once she paid, she asked for a pen and wrote a heartbreaking message on the label where the price and size is, “Because I cannot buy you more clothes while you are away: wear this when you miss me.”

Apparently, daughter broke down in tears just outside the store and took a good half an hour to be calmed down again. A mother's love and a good bond always gets me.

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38. A Mother in Need

I worked for airport security. Saddest one for me was this young lady who came through with her baby. She had clearly been crying heavily and was sniffling. We didn’t have tissues but we had hand towels—like the ones in bathrooms—so I offered her a bunch when she got to the recheck station. She kind of broke down and told me that she’s not leaving by choice, her partner and baby’s father lives in this country but she couldn’t stay because of visas, which meant the baby had to go with her—maybe three months old.

I ended up going around to her side of the recheck and taking the baby off her so she could clean herself up in the bathroom, then when she came back we kind of just hugged it out for a few minutes until she felt a bit better. Luckily it was super quiet so I was able to give her my full attention. Baby Liam, you’re still our official baby mascot! And if she’s reading this then I hope you got back here ASAP and they treated you well on the way in.

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39. Longest Year of His Life

After I got married to my wife in the Philippines, we said goodbye at the airport and I cried before we even got out of the taxi. The whole way to the entrance of the airport I cried too, and just sat there holding her, not able to let go for about 10 minutes. My mom was there and was bawling too, and my wife was actually the stronger one and said it would be okay and we'd see each other in a year—that’s how long the spousal Visa takes.

But then she started crying, too. You can tell it must be a relatively common thing because there were people staring and even the airport security guard had a look on his face of recognizing that pain from past people who had to go through the same thing. I think I spent the next 24 hours of flying and layovers in airports crying the whole time.

I spent about three weeks depressed when I got back home. After a year and a half due to complications, she flew here and when I met her at the airport I gave her the biggest hug ever and yet again started crying. I've had surgeries and family members murdered and while it was all terrible, the pain of saying goodbye to a person you just married and we're on a honeymoon with for over a year is unbearable.

I don't wish that on anyone.

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40. Couldn’t Hold It Together

I worked at a very small regional airport so I dealt with passengers from check-in to boarding. Often, the passengers and their families would stay together all the way up until boarding. An elderly gentleman was dropping off his son who had flown in from overseas where he lived, for a visit. It was just us three in the terminal at the time, and after check-in, the dad looked at his son and said, “I have to go before I lose it”, then hugged his son, shook his hand and left.

His son stood looking out the window at the tarmac and I could see he was getting a little upset. It was just us, so I walked over and asked if he was okay. He started crying and said, “this is probably the last time I am going to see my dad.” He then revealed the tragic truth. He told me his dad was terminally ill with cancer and he had to return to his job overseas.

All I could do was hug the guy and cry with him. It was very upsetting to me, even as a stranger.

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41. The Final Goodbye

My husband and I were the ones leaving. I have anxiety, don't do great on planes, but manage OK 99% of the time. But this one was different. We'd basically taken a last minute trip to Australia to visit and be with his father before he passed. The cancer was in his lungs now, and he stopped all but palliative care. After two years of fighting, he was tired.

As we headed to the gate, the panic started to set in. I needed to get in line, to shut up the anxious brain. But I was basically telling my husband, “say one last goodbye to your dad, because this is it.” I felt terrible, and had myself a panic attack coupled with bawling my eyes out. Saying our goodbyes, his dad gave me a big hug, told me he understood my stress, and said he wished I was his daughter.

He passed about 10 days after we landed home. Additional heartbreaker—I fell pregnant the day before his funeral service.

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42. Almost Over Before It Began

I met the love of my life just a couple of months before moving to New Zealand. For a whole bunch of seemingly valid reasons, he couldn't come and we said goodbye at the Belfast airport. I had already rebooked to stay longer while drunk in a pub a week earlier, so I was flying back for only 12 hours, overnight, to empty out my apartment and then fly to New Zealand.

That goodbye nearly destroyed me. I loved him so much, but we had been together such a short time that we knew long distance would be a struggle. It was awful. We cried and held each other until it was almost too late and then I cried through security and the whole flight. Super heartbreaking. There’s a happy ending, though.

Due to not having a car that day, his dad dropped us off at the airport and when he saw how devastated my boyfriend was upon returning to the car, he basically said, “if she's so important to you, why aren't you going to New Zealand?” And there we were, barely a month later—he had a flight, a visa, and we were apartment hunting.

I know in my heart we could've survived the distance, but I'm so glad we didn't have to try.

Airport Goodbyes FactsShutterstock

43. If You Love Something Set It Free

When I was 19, my twin brother moved to Canada for his last year of university. My dad and I saw him off at the airport. When it came time to leave, we both hugged him and told him we loved him, and then he walked off and up the ramp with his ticket. I looked at my dad and he just held both of his hands to his chest while tears were rolling down his cheek.

That was the second time I had ever seen him cry. My brother stayed for two years in the end before coming home. Sadly, the year after he came back, my dad passed away. That day at the airport was 15 years ago today and I'll never forget the look on my dad's face. How much he loved us but still let my brother go and be free, even though it hurt him so much.

Airport Goodbyes FactsShutterstock

44. One Day You’ll Understand

Not heartbreaking, but an interesting perspective. When I was 21, I moved to the UK for four years. I remember being very excited and a little irritated with my mom for being so emotional and making a big deal out of it. In January, my son moved to Spain and I watched him, in tears, go through security until I couldn't see him anymore.

As soon as I got in the car, I called my mom and apologized for my actions 34 years earlier.

Dark Secrets factsShutterstock

Sources:  Reddit

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