The kindness of strangers is such a pleasant thing sometimes. I often forget how nice people can be.
Today I am going to Little Rock, AK, to see Brian. He graduated from his school in TX and is now headed to his next class.
I scrambled to get myself to the airport on time. I haven’t really had more than a few minutes to sit down in the rush to get out of town and get the kids to my dad’s for the weekend. This morning, while trying to type a report, pack, and clean the house so I didn’t return to a mess, my dad convinced me to just throw the rest of the laundry (wet) into my suitcase and get to the airport. With two hours before my flight I figured I was okay. I drove to the airport, not speeding because I figured everything would be ok, and parked. I got on the shuttle and rode the rest of the way to the airport. It took a few moments to get my bag checked and I still thought I was ok.
It was then that I saw the line for security. It was long, but not much longer than usual. It seemed to move fast enough – until I got to the scanning machines. Then it stopped. And stopped. And stopped. I didn’t have my watch on and so I couldn’t really gauge the time. It didn’t seem too bad. After I made it through security I put my watch on and checked the time. I still had twenty minutes to catch the flight. I got on the train, waited patiently for it to get me to my terminal, and then exited the train. I checked my watch and still had fifteen minutes. I took a couple minutes in the shop to grab a book and then started hoofing it to the gate. I got stuck behind some people who didn’t appear to know that it was ‘stand’ on the right and ‘walk’ on the left of the walking escalator. Of course, this would be a day I would wear the inappropriate shoes to the airport. I need to look cute for Brian and all… Well, I finally made it to the gate. I thought I was good. I had eight minutes to go, after all! I took a little bit to figure out how to get onto the plane and finally asked the lady standing behind the desk.
She informed me that the flight stopped boarding two minutes ago.
I missed my flight by TWO FLIPPING MINUTES!
On my boarding pass it says the plane departs at 10:45. It starts boarding at 10:25. Nowhere on there does it say that it stops boarding at 10:35. Apparently they always close boarding ten minutes before the flight time. I wasn’t aware of this little tidbit of information. I feel as if that would be a very beneficial thing to know. I fly frequently and have never run into this problem. Maybe they could print it on the boarding pass?? I wouldn’t have stopped to get a book. I would have pushed through people on the escalator. I would have done so many things differently.
I broke down and started crying, of course. With so little time to see Brian every hour is precious. Every minute is precious. You don’t think about those things when you are together all the time. Sometimes the people you love get on your nerves. Goodness knows that when Brian and I are together for a while we annoy each other to no end. Right now, though, I want to be with him, and every hour I sit here waiting is a little more time we won’t get to enjoy each other’s company.
But anywho – back to my main point…
After I gave myself a talking to for my stupidity and pulled up my big girl panties (I was still teary, of course, and other people in the terminal were giving me funny looks) I put myself on standby and wandered around, trying to figure out what to do with my sorry self.
I had lost a piece to my phone charger in my travels yesterday and my phone was dead. I teared up a bit because I didn’t want to use a pay phone due to the outrageous charges that whatever company has the pay phones in DIA charges. I wandered aimlessly, contemplating going to the USO room or getting a drink. I know it was only 10:45 in the morning, but don’t judge.
Instead of going to the USO I found myself drawn to the already very crowded bar. I took my red eyes into the bar and sat down at the corner furthest from the door. The gentleman next to me turned to look at me and I said hi. He nodded. I was still shaken from my experience and told him I had missed my flight by two minutes – something I don’t normally do because usually I avoid people I don’t know. I think it was because I was so miserable inside still.
I ordered a bloody mary and the man next to me left. The waitress brought me my bill and it was $0.00. I don’t know who this man is, but I sure wish I could thank him! (So here is my thanks, not that he will ever read this)
A few minutes after he left, and while I was still trying to figure out what to do with myself, two other people came in and sat next to me. They were about my age and the guy said hello. I’m sure I looked more than a little bewildered still. I was taking out the new, cursed, book I had bought out of my backpack when the girl he was with asked me if I was in the military. I am using one of Brian’s camouflage book bags as my carry on. I said “No, but my husband is.”
I started to turn away but then I worked up my courage and asked if they had a phone I could use. I NEVER do that. Usually my stinking pride keeps me from asking people for help.
Not only did the guy let me use his phone to call Brian to tell him to not to speed to meet me at the airport, he let me use his charger to charge my phone. I now have 7% battery life, which is enough to call Brian when I get into Little Rock. I thanked them profusely but they told me not to worry about it – it was the least they could do for all the sacrifices my family has made to keep them safe. I think that is something I will always carry with me in my heart.
Right now I am imagining my bag circling round and round and round on the carousel – alone and desolate, wondering when its mommy will be there to collect it.
I know I don’t often ask for help, but I’m glad I did. I will always be grateful to the nice people I met at DIA today. I am calm and ready to travel, ready to meet whatever obstacles come my way. But God help me if I don’t get on the next flight!!