Last week I went to Abu Dhabi on a business trip. I was running some training for a group of managers and a group of graduates. I’d already been to Abu Dhabi the month before and got into the country without a glitch. This time was different….
As I went through passport control the man behind the desk looked at me with the question ‘Visa?’ I didn’t think I needed a visa and replied to that effect. Turns out I was wrong.
I was quickly ushered to the Immigration Office and the man in charge told me I had to get on the next plane back to the UK. Gulp! This meant letting down my client, about 30 people who were attending the training, plus not getting paid for a full week’s work. Clearly a MAJOR DISASTER!
I had a choice – I could either accept my fate, after all Immigration Officers are not exactly known for their flexibility, or I could try every possible thing I could think of to get into the county. I opted for the latter option.
I appealed to the man’s kindness and managed to get a 24 hour grace period before he sent me packing back home. I could stay in the airport and try and get a visa, after that I was out!
In those 24 hours I rallied the troops, and asked every single person who could help to help. I came up with 10 different options and methodically went through each option to see if it worked. Some twice, just to make sure. From transit visas, to flying to Dubai, to the Maltese consulate, to the two people I knew in Abu Dhabi. It seemed that every road took me to a dead end.
That was until I got an email, 18 hours after the ordeal started, saying that yep, there’s a man who can get you a visa in 2 hours. Send us your passport & ticket scans and check your email in 2 hours. Sure enough, 2 hours later I had my visa! Just like that, the insurmountable problem had been resolved. Hooray!!
As I bid Ahmed, the immigration officer goodbye (we’d become friends by now) and walked out of the airport I felt truly invincible.
There are two reasons I’m sharing this with you. Firstly, if you’re ever stuck in Abu Dhabi without a visa then I’ve got the right man for you. Secondly I was reminded of the door’s response to Alice, in Lewis Carroll’sAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Door: “Why it’s simply impassible!
Alice: Why, don’t you mean impossible?
Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing’s impossible!”
So whatever situation you’re facing in life, when one door seems to be locked tight, move on. Look for another door because eventually, if you try enough doors, you will find one that’s ever so slightly ajar…
Have a great week!