What are the odds that the most notable and famous Brazilian expatriate in the city of Cleveland’s long and storied history would be strolling through the Cleveland Hopkins Airport at the exact point in time – the exact gate in the airport – that a stranded Brazilian couple would be looking for help and refuge after a canceled flight back home.
Stepien Rules’ Brendan Bowers uncovered this fantastic story concerning Cleveland’s tallest Portugese-speaker swooping in to help two visiting Brazilians that were stuck at an airport, lost without translation:
The pair of Portuguese speaking travelers were the mother and brother of a Cleveland resident they had been in town visiting.
According to a source close to the family, neither person spoke English and they were left stranded at the airport after their connecting flight to Miami had been canceled.
Eventually, they found a person who offered to help translate Portuguese to English at the American Airlines desk in order to get them onto another flight.
The 6-11 guardian angel turned out to be Cleveland Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao, a star in Cleveland but an anonymous helper that the visiting duo had no idea about. Bowers went on to report that Varejao helped the pair find another flight to Miami, and a hotel room in the city to stay at before they hooked up with a connecting flight back to Brazil the next day.
"She didn't know his name. She only knew that he was a tall guy, with funny hair who plays basketball. She asked me to thank this guy for his patience and generosity! Well, this guy turned out to be Anderson Varejao!! Man you are awesome! Thank you so much for helping them!"
As far as how helpful Varejao truly was, he added the following for context.
"You have no idea how helpful he was. Imagine my mom who don't speak English and my brother who is mentally challenged totally lost at the airport. And this guy comes and helped them to find a new flight to MIA.”
Incredibly cool … and again, what are the odds?