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.
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.
I 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.
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