Some of you may have seen Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film The Terminal, in which Tom Hanks’ character is trapped in an airport terminal. Robert Wladyslaw Parzelski came pretty close to living it.
The details of Parzelski’s bizarre story are still a bit sketchy, but the story reporters have so far been able to uncover goes like this: The 44-year-old Polish man arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, onboard a British Airways flight from London on June 17. He had planned on meeting a friend there, but when no one showed up, he simply stayed put—for the next 18 days.
Parzelski arrived without any cash or even a rudimentary understanding of the native Portuguese, but fortunately for him airport custodians took notice and kept him supplied with water, yogurt, and cigarettes, the Guardian reports.
His stay soon caught the attention of the local media, and reporters from a newspaper attempted to get him to tell them his story. They tried Portuguese, French, and Spanish until Parzelski finally replied: “I’m Poland.”
On June 30, the reporters brought with them a Polish doctor from Sao Paulo to speak to Parzelski. The doctor was able to find out a little more of the story, but far from all of it.
Parzelski said that he left his family in London and traveled to Brazil on a one-way ticket that he had received from a Polish friend, who had asked him to return with two telephone sets.
Calling in the Polish consulate in Sao Paulo did not help explain why Parzelski had agreed to travel to Brazil, without any money or a return ticket, to acquire the two telephone sets.
Whatever his secret is, Parzelski appears to have taken it back to London with him. He left Sao Paulo on Tuesday afternoon onboard a Swiss Air flight, waving good-bye to the stunned Brazilian media.
(Forgive the Hanks photo, there aren't any pics of Parzelski on the wires for us to use.)