Norma Sanchez– flight attendant, Filipina, newly hired
Roger Clark, American, veteran purser
Airline - CX
Garrido – Chinese businessman from Hongkong
The aircraft had just settled to a stop in their Manila airport tarmac when, after all the passengers had disembarked, the purser, Roger, spotted a small packaged wrapped in plastic in one of the business class seats.
“Miss Sanchez,” Roger calls out to Norma by the pilot’s area putting her things together in preparation to leave the aircraft. “I found this package in business class seat 301, kindly check it out and give it to the authorities when you leave.”
Norma, recently hired just less than a year ago after her training in Hongkong, was anxious to know too and thereby proceeded to get the package. She did not open it.
Moments later, Norma disembarks with her usual carryall, overcoat, and hand carry to proceed to the immigration desk of the Manila Intl. Airport. She was toting the package still unopened when she reaches the desk for her turn to be checked.
Sir, we found this package in our flight CX 830 from Singapore. The purser asked me to submit this to authorities that are why I am giving them to you.
The seemingly tired but not rough Manila immigration officer took hold of the package asking her
“did you check what it is, mam?”
Then the officer peeled off the tape and unraveled the package which contained a smaller bag that contained diamonds. “These are diamonds. Let me get your full name and flight number and where I can get in touch with you.:
To which Norma submits her full name and other details especially her cellphone number. Then he was let go for the line she was in had swelled a bit for other passengers anxious to get to their destinations.
At about 2:30 p.m. Norma got a call in her cell while she was at home with her parents with whom she has lived all her life. The fact is that she has not entertained the idea of having a family for she wants a career in being a Cathay Pacific flight attendant.
The voice sounded clear and authoritative. “May I speak with Miss Norma Sanchez?” asked the male voice.
“Speaking” answers Norma for she was expecting the call.
“This is Col. Alfonso Nebrida of the Philippine Immigration Department. We have the package you found in your CX flight 830 from Singapore. We want you to come over right now to our offices in the Port Area of the Manila Harbor. I am on the second floor. “And without waiting for her reply, hung up.
So conscientious was Norma with her job and so aware that she must do a good job being new the position, she readily left and took a taxi towards the Immigration Office of Col. Nebrida.
Besides she did not want to jeopardize her job which she loved very much, so any possibility of a risk she wanted to eliminate.
Col. Nebrida, was every that military had to offer – crisp uniform with the attached medals, awards, etc. quite tall – 5’10’ for a Filipino. “Hello, Miss Sanchez,” he greeted the attendant and waved her to a chair well positioned to face the officer.
Who else knows about this package? “ asks the officer.
The pursuR sir, Mr. Roger Clark. Who was on duty in this flight.
“ No one else?” asks the officer.
“No sir.” Replies Norma. She was ill at ease seated there not knowing what was to come and her feeling of insecurity was mounting moment by moment.
“We think these are precious diamonds from Singapore, Ms. Sanchez, and we have submitted them to the gemology section of our office tasked with this kind of work. According to policy gems are taxable when they arrive in this country. We expect their report momentarily. Meantime, would like some coffee? “ asks the officer.
Then the Colonel added, “Did anyone call for the package yet?
“No one sir.” Answers Norma.
At this point the colonel stood up from his desk, lighted a cigarette and motioned Norma to get up and follow him. He then led her to the conference room nearby and within view through the glass pane from Col. Nebrida office. She seated her there where she could wait for the report, have coffee or just read magazines.
Meanwhile, she got a call in her cellphone from Purser Clark stating that the owner of the package, a Chinese businessman claimed it and was coming over to retrieve it.
Norma interrupted Roger and said that the package with the diamonds was being examined at the Gemology department and she was waiting for the report at the colonel’s office.
Roger hangs up and moments later call again.
“Mr. Garrido is waiting for our call when the package is released.” Roger says and then hangs up.
Tension in Norma’s heart was rising and was not sure what would become of her and her new position. She just could not let her parents down. She therefore begun to pray for help from the Lord.
Soon, Roger calls again tell Norma that Mr. Garrido mentioned a pistol inside the package. If we found it.
Norma froze. “I did not find any pistol Roger you know that. Did you?”
Roger answers in the negative and hangs up.
According to Philippine law, smuggling of firearms brings with it a heavy penalty including jail time. Again, Norma was already having her cold sweat but continues praying.
Soon, Purser Roger arrives unannounced at the office of Col. Nebrida together with the Chinese businessman. Introductions were made all around and then when seated by the conference room, col. Nebrida said that the gemology officers have checked the stones and were coming over to join them.
In a few moments, an officer of the gemology department arrives with the package stating that they were not real diamonds but plastic ones only.
All looked at Mr. Garrido who admitted that the diamonds were plastic ones which he wanted to collect and had no commercial value.
When Roger asked the man about the pistol which was not in the package, Mr. Garrido sheepishly smiled and looked down on his shoes and muttered “Solly, I forgot to get the pistol from the safety deposit box in Singapore where I placed it for security reasons.”
Everyone looked at every around, with the colonel smiling in a kind of embarrassed smile in behalf of the Chinese gentlemen and soon bade goodbye to Norma and Roger.