A Man Spent 18 YEARS at the Airport

A Man Spent 18 YEARS at the Airport


If you’ve ever had to take a plane somewhere,
you probably know how it feels to have your flight delayed by several agonizing hours. But imagine being stuck at the airport for
a whopping 18 years! Well, one man didn’t have to imagine at
all because that’s exactly what happened to him… Mehran Karimi Nasseri, also known as Sir Alfred
Mehran, stayed in Terminal 1 of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle International Airport from
August 1988 to July 2006. Before his 2-decade stay at the airport, Nasseri’s
life was nothing out of the ordinary. He was born in Iran in 1943 to a middle-class
family, and he had a pretty typical childhood. When he was 30, he went abroad to study at
the University of Bradford in the UK, and 3 years later, he went back home. Nothing too special until you find out what
led up to his “extended stay” within the walls of a Parisian airport. Now, it’s kinda hard to get the story straight
because Nasseri has changed the details so much. According to him, he’d been exiled from
Iran and had his citizenship revoked because of his political views. Yet some sources say that he hadn’t been
expelled from his native country at all! Whatever the case, the man asked for political
asylum from Iran. For 4 years, he got nothing but rejections
from different European countries. But in 1981, fortune finally smiled upon him,
and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Belgium granted Nasseri official refugee
status. He could now request citizenship in any European
country. And after Nasseri had spent several years
in Belgium, he decided that he’d move to the UK. His decision was connected with a family secret
that sounds like it’s right out of a soap opera. Basically, Nasseri was already an adult when
his mother told him that he wasn’t her real son. It turned out that his birthmother was a Scottish
nurse who’d had an affair with his father. This made Nasseri eligible for British citizenship. So, that’s why he decided to get UK citizenship
now that he had refugee status. If only he’d known what was in store for
him… He set off for the United Kingdom in 1988. First, Nasseri traveled to Paris where he
caught a plane to London. And that’s where things started to get murky. When he arrived at Heathrow Airport, he didn’t
have his refugee papers with him! Nasseri claimed that they’d been stolen
on a train when he was on his way from Belgium to Paris. The craziest thing is, nobody could figure
out how on Earth the man had managed to get on a plane to London. It was an international flight, and you can’t
just fly to another country without a valid passport and visa! Well, whether it was the airport or airline
staff, somebody made a huge mistake… So, here he was – in London, but unable to
leave the airport since passport control wouldn’t let him through without his papers. I guess they let him fly back to France without
his documents because that’s exactly what he did. And, thus, we’ve come full-circle. Upon his arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport,
things really started getting weird. Since Nasseri didn’t have his refugee papers,
Parisian passport control authorities also wouldn’t let him leave the airport! He even got arrested and spent some time in
the airport jail for attempting to enter the country illegally. But since his situation had no obvious solution,
he was released. Now, usually when a person has lost their
papers, they get sent back to their home country since they don’t need a passport to enter. But remember, Nasseri was stateless, so he
couldn’t fly home. On the other hand, France wasn’t his country
of citizenship and he didn’t have a visa or anything, so he couldn’t enter it without
a passport either! That’s how this man got stuck at the airport
and made it his new home for the next 18 years. At first, Nasseri thought that his airport
stay wouldn’t last longer than a few days, maybe weeks at the most. But months went by, then years, and the man
was still living in Terminal 1. So, how did he spend the next 2 decades stranded
in an airport, you might wonder? Well, he mostly stayed on his personal red
bench on the restaurant floor reading books and newspapers and writing down his experience
in a diary. His luggage was always by his side, and the
airport provided him with everything he needed: bathrooms, showers, and even laundry services! He had his meals in the food court, and he
was surrounded by stores. So, when you think about it, whatever he could
possibly need was literally a step or two away! Not that I’m thinking about moving to the
airport or anything… As for how he had money to support himself
all this time, well, for the first few years, he lived on his savings. But once his story spread around, concerned
and generous people started sending him some money. Much later, towards the end of his stay, Nasseri
published his autobiography, which also brought him some cash. Besides, he got $250,000 from DreamWorks after
they made a movie called The Terminal, which had been inspired by his story. By the way, have you seen this movie? Let me know down in the comments! But all that happened later. Meanwhile, Nasseri’s story started to attract
journalists from all over the world. It turned out that he could potentially receive
new papers. But, of course, there was a catch. For Belgium to reissue them, he had to be
there in person. It was too risky to send such important documents
through the mail. Besides, what kind of address is “Red bench,
Terminal 1, Charles de Gaulle International Airport,” ya know? Just imagine this vicious circle: you can’t
leave the airport without documents, but you can’t get new documents without leaving the
airport. And that wasn’t the only problem. According to Belgian law, if a refugee leaves
the country after they’ve been accepted, they can’t come back. This guy had to be the unluckiest person in
the whole world! Well, in 1995, 7 years into his stay at Terminal
1, Belgium agreed to send the necessary documents by mail. On top of that, France even granted Nasseri
a residence permit. But the man was still unhappy because, in
his opinion, his new documents were fake! He explained that the UK had given him British
nationality as well as the name Sir Alfred Mehran back in 1981. But his new papers were under his birth name,
Mehran Karimi Nasseri, and they had his nationality listed as Iranian, which he said wasn’t
factual. The documents weren’t the only thing stopping
Nasseri from accepting the offer. First of all, if he agreed to return to Belgium,
he’d have to live under a social worker’s constant supervision. What’s more, he was still hoping to head to
the UK as he’d previously planned. Nasseri’s longtime lawyer Christian Bourguet,
who’d tried to help the stranded man for a staggering 10 years, was stunned to hear
that his client was refusing to leave Terminal 1. You might be thinking, “Why didn’t Nasseri
just take the new papers, leave the airport, and then change his name?” Yep, that would’ve been the most reasonable
thing to do! But, ya know, you can’t really judge the
guy too harshly. I mean, how else can I put it? That much time in an airport would probably
make you lose a grip on reality! In a 2003 interview for GQ, Nasseri’s lawyer
said that at first, his client was pretty sharp and his story made total sense! But over time, the details started changing
and getting mixed up to the point that it became anything but believable. For example, Nasseri would say he was a Swedish
national who got to Iran by submarine! In 2006, Nasseri finally left the airport
18 years after he’d first set foot there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his voluntary choice. He’d gotten sick and was taken to the hospital,
where he spent 6 months. After he was released, he moved to a hotel
next to the airport. In 2008, France granted Nasseri freedom, but
the still stateless and homeless man has remained in the suburbs of Paris ever since then. How long would (or can!) you stay at the airport
before you start losing your cool? Share your thoughts and maybe personal experience
down in the comments! Remember to give this video a “like,”
share it with your friends, and click “subscribe” to stay here on the Bright Side of life!

100 thoughts on “A Man Spent 18 YEARS at the Airport

  1. I feel like dying if I stay only 1 hour in the airport but he stayed 18 years I can't imagine my condition if I was him

  2. uk …usa…canadians…. they should all know that they born with a piece of document that a lot of ppl fight a entire life for it…. and those ppl still get depressed lol… bet they couldnt endure 1 month living in a 3rd world country

  3. That's an amazing life no need to work pay rent get into traffic or pay taxes. Just sit an relax and become famous and on top of that get people's sympathy

  4. Hey honey have u arrived yet??
    Not yet mom just staying for 18 years said the pilot there is an air traffic going on now
    Ok have a nice and safe flight and make sure u charge your phone

  5. This guy is actually lucky! He gets to stay in Paris for so much years! But I still think it’s not true he could get on a plane!

  6. That seems impossible because he would have to leave for construction cause I’m pretty sure that airports have changed since then

  7. And how many children out there still living somewhere without citizenship.They can't have a proper education, job and they has to running from law enforcement everytime they encounter them.. This is a sad truth about humanity

  8. and my dad is sad from a 90 min delay and i keep telling that someone spent 18 years in a airport and my dad is still sad 🙄🙄🙄🙄

  9. The worst pain for me,, is waiting in the airport, now I can't imagine how this guy was suffering this pain for 18 years 😐🤯

  10. 18 years into the airport? I get nervous when a 15 minutes delay is announced, imagine if should stay for 18 years because of bureaucracy 😱🤪😖

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