(CNN) — It had been seven days since she landed in New York and Hana Sofia Lopes’ luggage was still lost.
Each morning, Hana Sofia phoned the airline for updates and ended the call growing increasingly frustrated and still without luggage.
Hana Sofia, a Luxembourg actress of Portuguese origin in her early thirties, was stopping over in New York in October 2022 to meet up with a friend. Her endpoint was Canada, where she was beginning production on a film.
Upon her arrival in Montreal, Hana Sofia was due to attend a prestigious industry event, where she would rub elbows with cinema legends and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel. Her carefully planned outfit seemingly lost forever, Hana Sofia bought a last-minute dress in New York and flew to Canada.
After landing in Montreal, Hana Sofia went straight to the airline’s information desk to file her baggage complaint in person.
“I was really like, ‘You know, I’m going to explode,'” she recalled. “But on the other hand, I’m also a yogi, so I also believe in karma.”
Hana Sofia knew her lost luggage – misplaced somewhere en route from Europe to the United States – was not the fault of an airport employee in Canada. So approaching the counter, she tempered her anger.
“I just start by saying, ‘Look, there’s nothing personal about what I’m going to say. It’s really just against your company, against the company you work for,'” Hana Sofia recalled.
As she spoke, Hana Sofia’s frustration didn’t show in anger, but in tears, and she found herself emotional as she revealed the details.
Hana Sofia spent a week in New York without her luggage.
Courtesy of Hana Sofia Lopes
On the other side of the airport counter was Azalia Claudine Becerril Angulo, a part-time airport worker in her twenties who has lived in Montreal all her life.
Azalia listened to the story and found herself imagining how she would feel if she was the crying stranger.
“She was really sad, angry too, and I understood why,” Azalia told CNN Travel.
“I wanted to help her. Normally people are rude and they are very aggressive. She was different.”
Azalia looked up the reference number for the lost luggage, but it wasn’t good news – the screen showed the bag was in Frankfurt, Germany.
Hearing this, Hana Sofia deflated.
“I am here to shoot a film, and tomorrow there is a reception with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, which is my country of origin,” she explained. “I don’t even have makeup to put on my face. I don’t even have face cream. I don’t have anything.”
Azalia turned away from the computer.
“Wait, do you need makeup? I’m a makeup artist, I can do makeup for you,” she offered.
Hana Sofia was completely taken aback, but Azalia continued, explaining that when she wasn’t working at the airport, she was a professional makeup artist.
“If you wish, I can come to your hotel in the afternoon and do your hair and makeup so that you can attend your reception,” she said. “If I were you, I’d freak out too. So I really want to do it for free.”
Both puzzled and touched, Hana Sofia agreed and the two women exchanged numbers.
Azalia says she had no reservations about helping Hana Sofia.
“I really trusted him,” she says. “It’s really about his vibe and the connection we had.”
Hana Sofia felt the same way.
“I felt in the way she spoke and also in the way she behaved that she was really, really honest,” she says of Azalia.
Form a connection
Here is Azalia in Hana Sofia’s hotel room with her makeup bag.
Courtesy of Hana Sofia Lopes
The next day, Azalia arrived at Hana Sofia’s hotel, and as Azalia got to work, the two women began chatting about their lives.
Hana Sofia opened up about how nervous and excited she felt about the reception that night, while Azalia explained what it was like to divide her time between the airport and her acting career. makeup artist.
They switched between French, English and Spanish – both women are fluent in several languages.
“While she was putting on makeup, it was very natural,” says Hana Sofia. “I didn’t feel like I was meeting someone for the first time. I felt like I was meeting an old friend, which is crazy, because I met her the day before, but we were talking a lot .”
As an actress, Hana Sofia spends a lot of time in the makeup chair. She knows her likes and dislikes, but she absolutely adored Azalia’s look.
“She did a great, great job,” she said.
Hana Sofia’s only hesitation was Azalia’s insistence on doing the service for free. But Azalia was resolute.
“Makeup for me is an art, it’s really a passion,” says Azalia. “So it’s not about the money. It’s just because I really like the person to feel good and happy.”
To top it off, on the same day, Hana Sofia heard from the airline. Her lost bag wasn’t in Frankfurt after all. He had been found and was on his way to his hotel in Montreal.
At that time, Hana Sofia says she felt like Azalia was a real fairy godmother.
“She is not only a great human, she also does her job very well because she managed to find my luggage”, explains Hana Sofia.
A friend in Montreal
Cut to the present day and Hana Sofia is back in Europe for the holidays. She will return to Montreal to film early in the year, when she plans to meet Azalia for dinner and a drink.
The two women have remained in contact and exchange messages regularly.
“She has a friend in Montreal,” says Azalia of Hana Sofia. “Anything she needs, I’ll be there.”
Both women say their unlikely connection illustrates the importance of openness and empathy, especially at the airport, where people are often stressed and focused on their own journey.
“People have to be a little more understanding than the person in front of them, they don’t have control over what happened,” says Azalia. “So if they’re patient and really calm, the person in front is going to help you as best we can.”
“It’s not about makeup. Of course, if I didn’t have makeup, it’s not the end of the world,” says Hana Sofia.
“It’s a lot more about how little we do that stuff. We don’t stop very often to think about what the other person might be feeling or how the other person might be going through something. We let’s just do our own thing and we don’t give a damn, unfortunately, that’s how it is. And in her situation, she really didn’t do that. And that’s what’s extraordinary.
Top image: Hana Sofia Lopes, from the front, photographed after Azalia Claudine Becerril Angulo, from behind, had her makeup done in Montreal. Credit: Hana Sofia Lopes