Published: 13:00, 18 October 2016
A newlywed was cured of his crippling fear of flying just in time to go on his honeymoon - when he bumped into a hypnotist at the airport.
James and Sarah Roberts spent six months and more than £2,000 planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure road-tripping around the US.
But when they arrived at Gatwick Airport, James - who had never flown long-haul before - found himself in floods of tears.
Panicking, the petrified postman, 34, told his devastated new wife he was too scared to board the plane.
Marketing executive Sarah, 31, resigned herself to the fact that they wouldn't be going and watched all the other passengers file onto the Los Angeles-bound flight.
But at that moment, a man running late for the same flight rushed up to the boarding gate, and, after noticing that James was in a distressed state, introduced himself.
The stranger turned out to be renowned hypnotherapist Jason O'Callaghan, who was on his way out to Sin City for his sister's wedding.
After hearing about the couple's ordeal, he put James in a trance there and then - while his wife and the airport staff watched in disbelief.
Less than 10 minutes later Jason escorted a calm James onto the plane and the couple went on to enjoy their dream honeymoon.
Sarah, of Hythe, said: "We were the last ones in the lounge. I was in tears, James was in tears. By that time I had tried everything.
"I got upset with him, angry with him. I said I was going to go on my own. I started to walk and he wasn't following me.
"I was literally about to say, 'OK, let's go home, I can't put you through this.'
"But at that exact point, this guy just appeared. I didn't even see him enter the lounge.
"He looked at me and looked at James and said, 'Does he have a fear of flying?' I answered, 'Yes,' and he said, 'Will you let me help him?'"
Sarah said Jason then put sat her hysterical husband down, put him into a trance and talked softly to him for five to six minutes.
Then he brought him round and led him - smiling and calm - onto the plane.
The Virgin staff at the gate were so amazed by what they saw, they offered the newlyweds and their saviour free seat upgrades for the 11-hour flight.
Sarah, who married James in May, said: "I'm a sceptical person and I have to see these things to believe them, but what I witnessed was crazy.
"We hadn't known how bad James's fear was going to be, but when we got to the airport he had a complete meltdown. He was just in bits.
"I'd managed to get him to the gate and at first I thought, 'Surely he is going to get on,' but as time went on we began to contemplate that we wouldn't be going.
"I asked if the staff could be the last to board the plane and said, 'Let me know when the last opportunity is,' and our bags were on standby.
"We literally had to get on there and then."
As a result of the bizarre encounter, James and Sarah were able to fly out to the states and enjoy a two-week adventure holiday.
They visited Vegas before driving to San Francisco and ending up in Los Angeles.
On the flight home, James - who isn't permanently cured of his fear - listened to a voice recording of Jason's voice to get him through.
Sarah said: "We are just so grateful. Honestly, if it wasn't for Jason and what happened we wouldn't have gone on our honeymoon.
"I can only put it down to fate."
James said: "I used to love flying but in the last few years I've developed this massive fear of it.
"I thought I'd be able to handle it, but when we got to the airport and I just broke down in tears. I was shaking and in extreme panic.
"Then Jason turned up out of the smoke and sat me down. You couldn't make it up.
"Within a few minutes he had hypnotised me and the next thing I know we were walking onto the plane.
"He saved our honeymoon and it was the holiday of a lifetime. If it wasn't for him we would have just had two weeks at home" - James Roberts
"I was relaxed during the flight. It was like I was still in a trance because all the anxiety had drained out of me.
"He saved our honeymoon and it was the holiday of a lifetime. If it wasn't for him we would have just had two weeks at home.
"Sarah has always wanted to go to America and to go with her new husband was the dream.
"We would've lost thousands of pounds if it hadn't been for Jason because we had booked rooms and car hire and everything. We owe him massively."
Jason, who runs the the D4 Clinic in Dublin, said: "I had an idea what was up when I saw James and he asked me to help him.
"As a psychologist and clinical hypnotherapist I talked to him and used a hypnotic induction to relax him.
"Under hypnosis, we took away the anxiety and then got him to focus on what good things he was going to in the USA on his honeymoon.
"It had an immediate effect and helped him to focus on the positive aspects of the flight not the negative."
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