It took almost 18 Hours to get to St. Petersburg from Nigeria. We had a 4-hour stopover in Turkey and another 3-hour flight to Russia. I was tired, a little cranky and all I wanted to do was go to bed once we arrived at the hotel.
From arrival in Russia, it was very difficult for me to stay tired or cranky. The Visa team made us feel welcome. “Let’s help you with your bags” “have some water”. “Should we see you off to the bathroom” “you must be tired”. All of these with smiles on their faces.
I relaxed a little bit and smiled more. Then we got to the hotel and I could not be more amazed by the reception we got. Especially Ilya and Hana, they were professional yet sweet. I told Ilya “when can we get to our room? I’m so tired”. He said “I know. I’m so sorry. You need to register at the Visa hospitality lounge first then you can go rest. In the meantime, I can help with your bag”. He dragged our bags into the elevator with us and followed us to the lounge.
Hana kept cooing into my ears “we have a surprise for youuuuu”. She looked excited. I became excited too, and I forgot for a minute about how tired I was. “Tell me, tell me. I like surprises”
She then said, “two actually.” Okay… now I was curious. I trailed behind Hana to the registration desk and in minutes, the lady behind the desk whisked out two Visa cards for my friend and I. “Here, you get to shop on Visa’s account.”. My friend was super excited, she began to dish out questions…”are you sure? We can do anything with the card? Good shopping, anything?” Hana nodded in the affirmative even though she was quick to let us know there was a limit but then, it was such an unexpected gesture for her.
Then we saw the other surprise…and my heart beat rate spiked. Oh no!!! Visa! You didn’t!
I’ll tell you the surprise tomorrow. But, can you guess?