Saturday 5 March 2022

Counter 24 Experience


I was thinking this morning...... a friend and the wife travelled to London recently and had to as usual go through immigration. When they eventually got to the front of the usually long 'Non-UK passport holders' line, an officer said 'Next person to Counter 24 please.' The immigration officer at Counter 24 was very friendly and straight to the point. He asked just a couple of questions, took their finger prints and handed back their green passports saying 'Enjoy your stay in the UK.' After picking up their checked-in luggage, they exited through the 'Nothing to declare' gate. Immediately, a young UK Border Force officer pulled them aside for further search of their bags.

My friend was getting agitated at this time, and ready to accuse the lady of profiling but he held his peace while the lady turned the bags inside out. At the end, she flipped through the pages of the 'green booklet' and asked 'madam, why was your passport not stamped by the immigration officer?' 'Really?' The wife asked in surprise. After confirmation, the woman returned with the officer to the immigration desk where the boss expressed doubt that she actually passed through immigration or was smuggled in. 'Ahh! We were attended to at Counter 24' the woman said to clear any doubt. They told her that had the error not been discovered early, she would have been detained during her return trip and remain there until after a thorough investigation. Wow!

When she returned to her husband with the stamped passport, they discussed the wider implications of this seemingly simple error by the officer in Counter 24, which we can refer to as 'Counter 24 experience.' We all sometimes have a 'Counter 24' experience at different stages of life. When someone gets a wrong medical result that turns his or her life upside down, it's a 'Counter 24' experience. When you passed an interview and given a week to accept the offer but the email sent to you was sent to a wrong email address, it's a 'Counter 24' experience.

Some 'Counter 24' experience may be like a storm in a teacup while others may be earth shaking and life changing. Some persons get drowned by it, while others get saved by grace like my friend. Had the Border Force officer not stopped them for search, the error could not have been discovered. For them all things worked together for good (Romans 8:28).

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey

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