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She was crying alone at the airport when she met her future best friend.


Maggie Musgrave and Cindy Jarrin met by chance at an airport, thanks to one of their pets. What happened between them is a lesson for life, even 12 years later. 

(CNN) --

Maggie Musgrave was sitting alone at Miami International Airport, crying.

It was a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2011. Thunderstorms were raging in Miami, and the airport gates area was becoming increasingly crowded, with stranded travelers scrambling to find a seat as plane after plane got stranded.

Maggie, then 28, was on her way home to Washington City after spending the weekend in Florida for her bachelorette party.

While she was grateful to her friends for throwing a fun few days' celebrations, now the hangover was kicking in and something worse lingered beneath her: Maggie had a feeling her future wedding was a big mistake.

"I was thinking that getting married was the wrong decision," Maggie told CNN Travel.

“I remember being at the airport and thinking, 'My God, I don't know if this is the right move.'

And be very sensitive."

Wiping away tears, Maggie heard a bark.

She looked up and saw a dog licking her knees.


"I was like, 'Oh gosh, I could really use a pet,'" Maggie recalled.

She greeted the animal enthusiastically, giving it a belly rub.

Right behind the dog was a woman, apparently its owner, who was quick to apologize.

"Oh hi, I'm sorry!" said the stranger.

"No, it's okay, it's okay," Maggie said, continuing to pet the dog, which was now licking her hand happily.

"I'm Cindy," the woman said.

"This is Deniro," she added, pointing to her dog.

"Like Robert?" Maggie asked.

Cindy explained that yes, her dog was named after actor Robert De Niro;

she had grown up loving the "Godfather" movies.

Maggie told Cindy that she, too, had a dog with a movie namesake: Scarlett O'Hara, after the "Gone with the Wind" star.

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Instantly, the two women established a relationship.

Maggie and Cindy were the same age, both were dog lovers, both were movie buffs.

And they were both waiting for the same flight back to Washington.

"We hit it off right away," Cindy told CNN Travel.

When Cindy ran into Maggie at the airport, she was also questioning some of her life decisions.

Cindy was in a job she hated, desperate to leave but worried that finding something new wouldn't be easy.

She got her master's degree from her in the middle of the recession and felt there were still few jobs.

"I actually had this despair: 'What is my future going to be like?'" Cindy recalls.

Maggie and Cindy chatted as they waited for their flight, both women finding solace in each other's company.

Cindy had noticed Maggie's tears, “she composed herself when I reached out to grab Deniro,” she recalls, but she didn't press for details about what was going on.

"I didn't want to seem too nosy. I thought if we talked it would distract her," Cindy recalled.

Sure enough, Maggie found that chatting with Cindy, who was open, friendly, and exuded kindness, was a distraction from her worries about the wedding.

Also, Deniro the dog was lovely and sweet, offering comfort and cuddles.

And when Cindy mentioned the problems with her job, Maggie told her that she could help Cindy start over.

She worked as a recruiter at an employment agency;

finding the people for the perfect position was her job.

The two women spent more than an hour deep in conversation.

And when the flight passengers were finally called, they exchanged phone numbers, promising to get back in touch when they got home.

"I just met this really wonderful girl," Cindy told her boyfriend when he picked her up at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Maggie also gushed about her new friend to her then-fiancé, though she left out the context.

"I did not tell him that I was crying, when I met her, for not wanting to marry him," he explained.

a growing friendship

Maggie and Cindy.

Back in the city of Washington, Maggie and Cindy began exchanging messages.

They arranged to meet the following week, both with their dogs in tow.

"We met for lunch with our pups, who also hit it off," Cindy recalls.

Chatting about Lebanese food, the two women picked up where they left off at the airport.

Their relationship, Maggie says, felt "super natural."

As lunch progressed, the two grew more comfortable in each other's presence.

And Deniro and Scarlett O'Hara did the same.

"When the dogs connected and we realized how close we live, the relationship grew stronger," says Maggie.

Maggie and Cindy also found that they were alike in small ways: they both love fall and considered the season when the leaves turn red their favorite season of the year, and in bigger ways, like the fact that they both shared the same Catholic faith, for example.

"Maggie's energy was very similar to mine," Cindy added.

"We had a lot of interests in common and still do: we're both aligned on our political thoughts and the kinds of movies we like."

"And, of course, the life of dogs. There's nothing you can't talk about. She's very outgoing. I'm an outgoing person. So it just worked."

Maggie and Cindy agreed to meet again.

Time passed and these meetings became more and more frequent.

Maggie vowed to help Cindy find a new job.

Whenever something came up that might be suitable, she would send it to Cindy.

Despite her reservations, Maggie went ahead with her wedding.

Later, she and her husband separated.

Cindy supported Maggie at all times.

Maggie and Cindy's pets.

"I think it helped that I was someone who didn't know him, for Maggie to talk about her feelings and her situation after she got married," Cindy said.

"I was there to lend an ear."

Cindy called their talks a "judgment free zone" and stressed that this went both ways.

"We could talk to each other a lot and do it honestly."

getting closer

About a year after meeting Cindy at the airport, Maggie began working as an internal recruiter.

A job came up at her company that Cindy would be perfect for and she suggested to her friend that she apply.

To their mutual delight, Cindy got the job.

The two women became co-workers and were able to spend even more time together.

"We'd have lunch and celebrate each other's birthdays and have our coffee, maybe too many coffees during Pumpkin Spice Latte season," Cindy said.

"Cindy threw me a birthday party one year at the office," Maggie recalled.

"It was pumpkin-themed."

In return, Maggie baked Cindy a carrot cake for her birthday, knowing it was her friend's favorite.

Maggie rode the city subway on a freezing February day, cake in hand, to surprise Cindy at the office.

Maggie and Cindy's lives became increasingly entwined, and Maggie became close to many of Cindy's friends.

"Her energy is contagious," Cindy said.

"All my friends get along with Maggie and love her."

After their divorce, Maggie started dating again.

When she scouted different candidates, she would invite them on double dates with Cindy and her boyfriend.

Deniro and Scarlett O'Hara also continued to enjoy each other's company, with Maggie and Cindy often babysitting each other.

When Cindy got engaged in 2015, there was "no question" that Maggie would be among her bridesmaids.

By then, the stranger she had met at the airport was one of her closest friends.

Maggie and Cindy.

"I wanted the most important and supportive people in my life to be my bridesmaids. The people who made me proud of myself," Cindy said.

"Maggie was one of them, as not only had she become a great friend over the years, but she was also the reason for my career and my success."

"I was thrilled to be Cindy's bridesmaid," Maggie recalled.

"Her friends of hers adore her and being the newest friend in the group was humbling and beautiful."

a lasting friendship

Today, Maggie and Cindy no longer work together, and Maggie no longer lives in the city of Washington.

But even though they don't see each other as often as before, their friendship is still strong.

Every time Maggie and Cindy meet again, they feel like time hasn't passed.

And when they're apart, they support each other from afar.

"No matter where I am, I love the idea that we're there, we'll always be there," Maggie said.

"And I love that, it's easy."

Cindy still lives in Washington, now with her husband and young daughter.

Maggie was there at Cindy's baby shower to help her welcome her son.

Today, Cindy loves her work and attributes the success of her current career to Maggie.

"Who knows where I would be today, and if I would have had the same sense of success, if we never crossed paths," he said.

Since Maggie moved, she has lived in Chicago, New York, and Florida.

Most recently, she moved to Los Angeles.

She is currently living a six-month sabbatical traveling with her partner in a caravan, visiting American ski resorts.

"It's interesting, because I thought my life was going to take a completely different trajectory," Maggie said, reflecting on her encounter with Cindy on the eve of their marriage.

"I did not stay with the husband, I stayed with the friend," she added with a laugh.

Maggie was one of Cindy's bridesmaids when she got married in 2015. Here they are pictured together on Cindy's wedding day.

“My life has been consistently inconsistent, but the things that remain true are my authentic friendships, my friends-family.

I never feel lost because I have Cindy in my life."

Sadly, Deniro and Scarlett O'Hara have passed away, but Maggie and Cindy supported each other through those losses and enjoy sharing memories of their dogs.

And they still give credit to Deniro for bringing them together in the first place.

Both Maggie and Cindy say their random meeting at the airport and their enduring friendship that followed taught them the importance of being open, especially while traveling.

"You never know how that's going to change your life, or how it's going to turn out," Cindy said.

"I still think it's crazy that one of my closest friends is someone I met at the airport."

"Be vulnerable," Maggie agreed.

"I was crying. I didn't even know if I wanted to meet someone new."

They also stress the importance of following up if you meet a potential friend on your travels.

"Take the lead afterwards, if you feel that connection," Maggie said.

"No matter how old you are, don't be ashamed. Email that person, cheer up, say yes."

While Maggie and Cindy have shared many special memories during their decade of friendship, they have never traveled together and have not sat together in an airport since they met in the departure lounge of Miami International Airport 12 years ago.

They both say that they would love to go on an adventure together one day.

"I know that Maggie and I will continue to share memories until we are 90 or older," says Cindy.

"Maybe we'll travel the world together after we retire. See what other chance encounters we can find while waiting in airports."

Top photo of Cindy Jarrin, left, and Maggie Musgrave, right, courtesy of Brittany DeFrehn.


Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-01-28

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