|Gary Austin, a Briton, holds his ticket for his flight back to England after 25 days of being stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. Photo by Raoul Esperas
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A British man who was stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for 25 days was given a late Christmas gift Friday when someone shouldered his ticket for his flight back to England.
Gary Austin, 52, was stranded at NAIA Terminal 1 when his ticket with Gulf Airlines was not honored due to cancellation by his travel agent in England.
Austin tried to leave Philippines last December 17, 2012 but his airline ticket was void. Lacking money, he decided to stay inside the airport and lived on donations from kind-hearted airport employees.
Hannah Bulabon, a janitress, took pity on Austin and shared her food during her duty.
Austin appealed to media and got the attention of Dutch national Jeroen Van Straten, chief operating officer of Air & Odor Management, who purchased an Emirates Airline flight via Dubai with connecting flight to Heathrow Airport in London.
Austin expressed his gratitude to Straten and to all airport employees who helped him survive his ordeal.
He criticized the British embassy for allegedly refusing to help him.
Austin said all the embassy did was to allow him to use their computer and their telephones.
He made special mention of Bulabon, the airport janitress, who shared her food with him. He was teary-eyed when he showed his ticket to her and promised to come back to the Philippines.
Austin was schedule to board the Emirates flight that left 5:35 p.m. Friday. By Raoul Esperas