Paul taught English in Korea. The college where he taught was closed due to the riot of the college students. Fed up, Paul decided to go back U. S. He was informed of the “baby flights”, a program whereby one can travel from Korea to U.S. really cheap. But there was a hitch – the traveler must transport three orphans. The alternative was to pay the full fare.
Paul found himself boarding a plane with three infants, aged 3 months, 7 months and 18 months. They came with runny noses, wet diapers and colds. As the plane took off, the poor kids howled. The plane vibrated violently and all the babies quieted. Moment later, the plane stopped shaking and in unison the babies howled again. The passengers burst into laughter.
Two American soldiers asked if they could each hold a baby. “No problem,” Paul said and they both walked off with a baby. The infant on Paul’s lap was wet and the milk formula was low. He rapidly learned how to clean a wet bottom, out on a new diaper and stick a pacifier in an open mouth. The baby blinked her eyes and smiled. Funny how things like that can touch the heart of people. From that point on Paul had developed a strong bond with this baby. He even named her Tina. The more he thought about giving her to someone else the more he worried about her.
Before landing in Tokyo, the soldiers handed back the babies. Paul clung onto his baby and one at a time changed the diapers of the two babies the soldiers had just handed him. As he pulled off their clothes, single dollar bills fell to the floor. Paul glanced at the departing soldiers. One of them blurted, “Little buggers are gonna need all the cash they can get. Merry Christmas!”
After two more stops and a total of 27 hours, the plane landed in U.S. New parents rushed in and sped off with two of the babies. Paul still held Tina and it seemed like nobody was coming on board for her. Worried that no one wanted her Paul trudged off the plane. Then he saw them and stopped. Hands of a healthy elderly couple reached up to him.
As Paul passed Tina to them, she said, “Oma” to him. That means mom in Korean. At this point, Paul cried. He watched the delighted family walk off to a new life and thought, “How perfect.”
By the next year Paul paid the full fare. The baby flight was too expensive.