Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — February 8th thru February 12th

February 14th, 2010 1 COMMENT
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Road Warrior Stories

Many of us travel a lot for our jobs. And by a lot, I mean up to half the year. My wife tells anyone who will listen that I’m on the road four months a year. I don’t know if it’s quite that bad, but I do travel frequently, whether it’s just for a night or for a week visiting distributors in the Midwest, South, or East Coast.

If you travel, there are going to be mishaps, adventures, unexpected situations, and unusual people and places. Sometimes I think we travel just to rehash our interesting stories and to experience new ones. So this week I’d like to hear your stories. I know you have some doozies because you’ve shared them with me in the past. Let’s hear your funniest, weirdest, and most poignant stories from your years of traveling.

For me, there are too many for one blog posting. And, there are those stories that can’t be told in mixed company. 🙂

I’ll get the ball rolling.

Several years ago I was in Atlanta for business. After Atlanta, I was flying to Ft. Lauderdale for a couple of appointments just as Hurricane Ivan, which had just hit Florida, was making its way north. At this point, it was just a tropical storm, and I was pretty sure my flight would be canceled, but I decided to head to the airport just in case.

We boarded the flight and got in line on the tarmac. After sitting on the tarmac for about two hours and hearing several updates from the Captain leading us to believe that the flight would be canceled,  he came on one last time and said, “Well folks, even I am surprised by what I am about to say. We are next in line for takeoff. I am expecting a pretty bumping assent.” Not exactly the most reassuring comment.

The Best Ride Ever!

The Best Ride Ever!

It was at that point that I looked across the aisle and saw a five year old boy. We lifted off, heading directly into the storm. Now here’s where it gets really interesting. This was one of those 60 minute blocks of time that a person NEVER forgets. The plane was bouncing up and down, and left and right so much that it actually hurt. I was sweating profusely. I looked around and saw people openly praying and crying. Yet, when I looked at the five year old boy across the aisle from me, he was laughing hysterically and clapping his hands. This terrifying flight was to this little boy the best amusement ride ever. Instantly, I calmed down and found myself laughing along with the little boy.

The second story is along the same lines.

I was returning from a business trip to France a few weeks after 9/11. My flight from France to Dallas was very long and delayed. After landing in Dallas, I realized that I had only 45 minutes to make my connecting flight to Portland. Thanks to the help of the flight attendant, I was the first one off the plane, and I immediately began to run . . .  only to be stopped by a soldier with a machine gun. He told me I needed to walk. So I began speed walking.

Now, I have a deal with my wife. I always call or text between flights so that she knows I am OK. However, my phone was dead, and I didn’t have time to use a pay phone. After I went through security at the domestic terminal, I realized I was probably going to miss my flight, but when I got to the gate, I was shocked to see the plane still there.

The gate agent told me they had already given my seat away. However, because of my status with American Airlines, she said she could get my seat back. I said OK, reluctantly, not totally certain what would happen next. Now don’t hate me, but they went on the plane and broke the news to the poor guy who had been given my seat. He was not happy. If looks could kill, I would have been dead.

air-turbulence-flyingI boarded and we took off. About 30 minutes into the flight, the Captain came on the PA and told us that we were going to be flying into a thunderstorm. No worries, “been there done that” I thought. The storm was really bad over the Rockies, so bad that at one point we bounced so hard that my water bottle flew from my tray table and hit the luggage compartment. It was then my mind went to work!

All I could think about was the ensuing news story in Portland, “Local Man Dies on Flight after Taking Seat from Another Passenger” . . . or the one from Dallas, “Man and His Family Feel Lucky that He was Pulled off the Flight that Crashed.”

Well, we arrived safe and sound. Once I was off the plane, I hit a pay phone to call my wife. She was not happy. It turns out she had called the airline to see if I made my flight. American had not changed the passenger list, so they told her I was not on the flight. For all she knew, I was still in Dallas and for some reason not calling her.

Anyway, after reading what I just wrote, I realize that I’ve only shared “bad” experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a lot of great ones as well. Just ask me about the “Yip Yip Woman”?

So tell me, what are some of your Road Warrior Stories?

I would love to hear them.

Please share your comments via the blog comment section.

–Kevin Carty

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One Response to “Word on the Street — February 8th thru February 12th”

  1. Reid Sherwood says:

    Well, Kevin, this is one for the ages. I was traveling from Grand Rapids to somewhere….through O’Hare. The story goes as follows. There will be NO embellishment.

    It was mid summer…Michigan can get a bit hot and steamy in the summer. Not like Memphis or Atlanta, but 95 with high humidity does happen a few days every summer…this was one of those days. There were storms in Chicago so we were delayed in Grand Rapids a while…almost 2 hours. American Eagle only flies regional jets so there isn’t very much room for things in the overhead compartment. That means that you check your carry-on plane-side and it is returned to you on the jet-way at your layover. Because of my status, I usually board first, which means that my stuff checked plane-side goes in first but comes out last.

    Soooo…. I am the last guy coming up the jet-way and as I get closer to the gate and the gate-agent, I hear someone in a very, very heated voice (remember, I am not embellishing) “Ma’am, do you realize that because my luggage wouldn’t fit inside the plane where it is air conditioned, that it had to go under, in the luggage compartment of the plane?” I am now slowing down, because I love to watch these kind of things happen. The gate agent calmly replies, “Yes, I understand, what is the problem?” Mr. Heated Voice now takes the offensive. He says, “Do you realize just how few restaurants serve real butter anymore? NOT VERY MANY!” The gate agent has no choice but to respond with a total deer in the headlights look and says “Huh?”

    Now Mr. Heated Voice is screaming pretty loud and says “You just don’t get it, do you? Every year when I take my trip I take a pound of butter with me and every year it has been fine until I chose your airline, where my butter couldn’t stay in the air conditioning.” The gate agent then asked the wrong question, “Well, sir, what would you like me to do?” Mr. Screaming-at-the-top-of-his-LUNGS answers with some visual aides to help her assess the situation. He opens his briefcase and starts taking things out and slamming them on the counter. “Look at my computer cord! Look at my notebook! Look at my car keys! Look at my cell phone! Every single thing in my briefcase is covered in melted butter and I want to know what you are going to do about it?” He got all that out without taking a breath and now successfully had butter soaked items all over her nice clean counter. She very calmly responds, “Sir, I am sorry, but I am afraid that the airline can’t be responsible for your butter melting, but I do certainly see the problem. Here are some paper towels.” Well, that just really sent Butter Man off the deep end, and he stormed off screaming something to the effect that he will never fly American again and this wasn’t over yet.

    By now I have forgotten where my connecting flight is leaving from so I am going to ask the nice gate agent to check for me. I walked up and politely said…”Ma’am, I think you handled that pretty well.” To which she replied, I wanted to offer him a lobster, but I didn’t have one handy.” I laughed like crazy.

    There are many that stick out like a sore thumb…but in my travels this one takes the cake!

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