The plan was that I'd be flying home to Orlando today from Mexico. I've spent the last three nights in Cabo San Lucas (try not to hate me), having fun in the sun and enjoying time with my mom. We've been away on a company trip, so it's been a great few days of socializing with people I don't often see and being reminded of what an amazing company I work for. Most people on the trip were going to stay until Thursday, but I had to get back to work and practicum. Plus, today is Valentine's Day and my flight was scheduled in a way that allowed me to get home around the time Rob would arrive from his evening class. Our V-Day plans are this weekend, but we planned to exchange cards and catch up, since I haven't been able to talk to him by phone since I left.
My connecting flight was in Houston. Once I got in, I got in the long customs line, wondering why it is that in a country with such high unemployment rates, we only had about five people working on a line full of over a hundred. It was a hot mess. After customs came baggage pickup. We had to grab our bags and recheck them to board the next flight. By this point, I had about twenty minutes to make my plane. What I didn't count on was having to go through security again, plus having to go through those newfangled machines that see you naked (just kidding!) twice. And the fact that my gate was miles away from security. So I ran through the airport, hoping against hope that someone would take pity on my sweaty, flushed self and let me on the plane.
Are you laughing? Because the airline employees were (on the inside).
Nope. Instead, I turned around and stood in line with the head of my department and her family (who were traveling with me) for the customer service desk, where we found out the following:
- We couldn't get on the next plane because it was full.
- We couldn't get on the plane after that because - guess what? - it was full.
- We wouldn't be getting back to Florida tonight and would have to stay in Houston.
- Our luggage was en route to Orlando and we wouldn't be seeing it until we got home.
- The customer service agent was a relative of the Wicked Witch of the West, and she was lucky the house had missed her.
Needless to say, we were pretty pissed off. No clothes, no going home, and we'd be canceling our plans for the following day, including work. It was a hot mess. We ended up getting hotel vouchers and heading to a Ramada which, among other things, features a 24-hour diner in the parking lot that goes by the name of Hot Biscuit.
At that point, I realized I had a choice: I could be totally pissed off, or I could laugh about Hot Biscuit and try to enjoy my evening. I chose the latter. I had dinner in the cafe of a hotel across the street with the only other people I knew on the plane: my boss and her family. Until tonight, I'd really only seen her at important meetings and events. Since she isn't someone I directly report to, I didn't know her as well as I might have. But tonight, she adopted me as part of her family. We ate dinner together and laughed with and at her adorable children, who were a riot. We had a great time, considering the circumstances, and it reminded me once again about how we choose our attitude.