As in the Tom Hanks movie, a stranded Argentine slept for a week at the Miami airport

Johnatan Godoy, 29, may have achieved a record he never expected. It was not a boxing title or anything he would have imagined when he left La Plata for Las Vegas for special sparring sessions at an iconic US site. Upon returning from that wonderful dream that he was able to fulfill in the mecca of that sport, a nightmare ensued: due to government restrictions, Johnatan got stranded at the Miami airport and had to live in the terminal for a week, a period that is possible that no Argentine has passed.

His bed was a towel on top of the rug. The pillow, his sports bag. Like in the movie “The Terminal” by Tom Hanks but with a Creole accent, without money and only a few cookies to eat, Johnatan survived thanks to mate, to the “endurance” of his family over the phone and to solidarity of an Argentine who rescued him from that situation and took him to California.

61 kilos, professional boxer in the lightweight category, Johnatan works selling coffee in the Bingo platense. He did not go to the United States on vacation and has no money to spare. Count to Clarion who had the happiness of getting to travel on June 20 to a sparring session in Las Vegas with full payment and, on the stopover back in Miami, when he had almost not a dollar left, he was stranded by the restrictions imposed by the presidency of Alberto Fernández for the entry of foreign passengers.

Like in the movie, the airport was his home. “I was living there for seven days, from June 28 to July 4. The money I had was very little because it was coming back. Hardly to eat. I had some cookies and cereal bars that I had brought from the hotel in Las Vegas. At the airport I bought food very few times because it was very expensive and I had no money. What he did was eat in the afternoon so he could shoot until the next day. I handled myself with mate. Luckily I took a kilo of yerba from Argentina and drank a lot of mate to kill hunger”.

The day his flight was canceled, Johnatan slept in the frosted tile floor From the airport. “It killed me, it was very hard,” he recalls. Then he signed up for another flight (which he could not take either), but passed immigration and security and thus remained in a more comfortable area. “There was a carpet and I put a towel on top And so he dodged a little more. Then I went to door D24 because it was better, there was a place where I could get hot water for the mate. So I settled there ”.

Johnatan slept on the airport floor, on a towel.

Johnatan tried again and again to get on a plane. “They lied to us all the time. They told me that they would give me a flight for August 3, but at the same time they told me that on every flight to Buenos Aires they would put me on the waiting list. In each promise I was excited. He prepared all the things and when it came to the last, nothing. Nobody was going up. That’s how each of the 7 days went. They told me ‘stay calm, you’re sure to go out tomorrow’ and nothing”.

One day he got excited because it looked like he was going to get on a plane. He did not leave, but he achieved something very precious in those 7 days: take a bath. “As the flight supposedly left at 2 in the morning and was delayed, they took over and gave me a hotel voucher for a few hours. I took advantage of them to take a bath and lay down on a bed for a little while, a happiness. The plane never left, but I was able to shower before going back to sleep on the floor. “

The uncertainty grew with the passing of the days. “It was going around all the time with the bag, and the suitcase, without being able to leave it anywhere. Some Argentines told me: ‘but hey, you’re in Miami’ and I replied: ‘I wish I could be on the beach sunbathing, I don’t even have to take an Uber To leave the airport. Come see how I’m doing in Miami ”.

“There are many stranded who do not become a problem because they have money. I saw that many did not take the flight and went to their hotel, but I had to stay at the airport, it was crazy, “he adds.

Johnatan killed time with his cell phone talking on video call with his wife and his boys, Benjamin, 11 years old, and Alba, 8. “I bought my son boxing gloves. In a call I commented that I was running out of money and my son tells me crying: ‘Daddy I sold the gloves so you can eat’. I swear to you that broke me and made me feel very bad ”.

"Daddy I sold the gloves so you can eat"his son told him.

“Daddy I sold the gloves so you can eat,” his son told him.

A helping hand

But Johnatan did not throw in the towel and resisted until they managed to rescue him from there. His coach in La Plata got in touch with another Argentine friend who lives in San Marcos and does spare parts in a hotel. So they bought him a ticket and now he’s working and sleeping there.

“I accepted that proposal without hesitation for a second because I was having a very bad time at the airport. Now I am working to be able to pay the passage that he paid me and to maintain my expenses, to survive and to be able to eat. I don’t pay for lodging, but I have to eat, ”he says.

The boxer was given the American Airlines ticket for August 3. As the bingo hall in La Plata where he works as a coffee grower is still closed, Johnatan breathes for now, because he had fear of losing my job. “It was so nice at the beginning of the trip and everything got dim in Miami. But now I was offered to fight in Atlanta, so maybe something good will come out of all this. “

USA. Correspondent.