Headline: Ex-Pilot Lives in Brazilian Airport After Being Dumped
Andre Penner, AP
Muller, allegedly an ex-pilot, has been camping in the airport for 13 days as of October 29th, reported the Associated Press. On October 29th, he was taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.
According to Brazil's civil aviation authority, Muller is permitted to stay in the airport for three months - the length of a typical European tourist visa to Brazil-as long as he obeys the law, reported the Associated Press. The stranded traveler isn't specifying when he will leave, though the Associated Press reported that if he stays longer than January, he may face deportation from the country.
In the meantime, the Associated Press reported Muller spends time wandering around the airport, using his laptop from atop luggage carts, and speaking to both workers and passengers in basic Portuguese mixed with some Spanish. He washes himself in the airport's rest rooms, sleeps in the airport's chairs, and relies on airport employees for meals from the food court. According to the Associated Press, Muller has declined offers to stay at a shelter or housing offered by nonprofit groups.
Before he was escorted to the hospital for the psychological evaluation, Muller told the Associated Press that airport workers "are treating me OK." In the report, the airport employees express their sympathy for Muller's situation, with police officer Wilson Slauzino telling the AP, "He just doesn't have a place to go and wants to stay at the airport for now."
Muller plans to move to the country permanently, telling the AP "I want to be living in Brazil in somewhere pretty." However, he refused to elaborate after the journalist denied his request to buy a computer cable in exchange for answering questions, reported the AP.
The airport residency prompts comparisons by the Associated Press to the premise of Steven Spielberg's 2004 feature film "The Terminal." While Muller is not stuck in the same passport purgatory as the fictitious Viktor Navorski, his financial distress and the kindheartedness of airport employees is a parallel. Portrayed by Tom Hanks, Navorski becomes a proverbial "man without a country" after his passport is invalidated by an overnight revolution in his fictitious eastern European country, ensnaring his immigration status in red tape. Navorski is forced to take temporary residence in New York City's JFK airport. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the film is vaguely based on the real-life saga of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian political refugee who lived in Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006 after landing in Paris without a passport or the visas necessary to officially enter the country.