They should make a movie about my life last week. Gay told me that I should blog about it, so…
This epic tale begins with the end of our Philadelphia/Maryland/Delaware/DC excursion. We flew into Little Rock at 11:00 pm on Tuesday night. Remember that-Tuesday. The very next day, I got a phone call for a potential job assignment, asking me if I could report to Phoenix on Friday morning for orientation to prepare for a short work stint in Hawaii!!! We talked it over and decided that I’d accept this position. So we set up a flight and for the next night and began the preparations for an indefinite assignment.
We went to the Texarkana airport (the most convenient location) and awaited my 6:00 evening flight to Dallas Fort Worth, where I had a layover before hopping on my 8:30 connecting flight to Phoenix. My final flight would arrive at 9:00 pm, giving me plenty of time to shuttle over to the hotel, shower and prepare for the first day of training. Flawless plan. But to quote Burns, “the best laid plans of mice and men…”
Chapter One: Delays of Beleriand
The original flight out of Texarkana was delayed. We anticipated something like this happening, and knew there was a later flight leaving out of DFW, so I was able to change my connection to that later flight, leaving at 10:25.
9:00 (projected): leave Texarkana
10:05: arrive in DFW
10:25: flight to PHX
10:56 (Mountain Time): Arrive in Phoenix
Not optimum, but doable.
The plane finally arrived and I got in line to board. However, when I got to the the counter, the lady said “oops” then asked me to stand to the side for a moment. Not good. No panic, though. If we were to take off on time, I would have just enough time to make my connector.
After the final person boarded they called me up. The lady at the counter: (scanning my boarding pass over and over again) said, “I’m so sorry about this. I accidentally put you on ‘lift’ status and it won’t let you board. The computer assumes you’re already in the air. We’re working on it now.”
The lady brought over some co-workers to help. I took a picture while they worked…
To their credit, the ladies were all nice as they could be. They knew that this was all their fault and appreciated my patience. Meanwhile, I could see that the passengers who were already on the plane were starting to get a little frustrated. By this point, the ladies have the home office of the airlines on the phone trying to solve this dilemma.
Eventually, the pilot got off of the plane and walked into the gate area.
Pilot: (angrily) What’s the hold up here!
Lady at the counter: (whispering) We made a mistake when entering this gentleman in the computer. We’re on with the help desk trying to get it resolved now.
Pilot: Well, do you know how long it’ll take?
Lady: We’re hoping we can have it resolved within the next five minutes. [note: I have no idea where she got this number from]
Pilot: Well, I have some angry passengers on board and they’re starting to yell at the flight attendants. I may ask you to send security on board. Also, we’re burning fuel sitting out there on the tarmac so, I’ll give you five minutes then we have to take off.
Lady: I understand. (turns to me) I’m sorry but if we can’t get this resolved, they’ll have to leave and we’ll just refund your money.
Me: Ok, thank you. (although inside I was saying %&%&#&$&@#!!!)
4:53 seconds later…
Lady: Ok we fixed it, go go go
As I got on the plane, the flight attendant told me to just sit anywhere there was an available seat. I sat in the very front row. As I sat, the flight attendant said, “yeah, that was probably a good choice”-the implication being that the other passengers were so upset at the delay, that they may have a few choice words for me. I turned to the passengers seated directly behind me and said loudly, “I guarantee you, no one on this plane is as frustrated as me!”
At 9:15, we finally took off.
Chapter Two: But Somehow the Vital Connection is Made
So, I was finally on my way to Dallas/Fort Worth. My flight to Phoenix, if you recall, was scheduled to leave at 10:25. I was hoping for one of two things to occur. Firstly, maybe the pilot could make up some time in the air and secondly, maybe the PHX flight would be delayed.
We landed at DFW at 10:05 at terminal B. Of course my flight leaves from terminal C. And if you’re not familiar with the DFW airport, take a look at this map…
This place is huuuuge. There’s no way to walk from terminal B to terminal C. You have to take the Skylink. While we landed at 10:05, we didn’t actually de-board until closer to 10:15. There was no way to make this flight, right? Well, I was going to give it a try. After getting off the plane, this was me…
I finally hopped on the Skylink at around 10:20. There was no indication of any delays for the 10:25 flight. I realized there was little to no chance of me making it, but it was worth a shot.
The Skylink left terminal B and of course went to the two stops at terminal A before arriving at terminal C. I finally got to my stop at 10:25. I walk to my gate. Whoa! They were still boarding. Yes! I was flying first class, but was one of the last to board. That’s okay. I made it. Apparently, everything was going to be okay, right? Wrong!
Chapter Three: Thelton, let’s reveal your largest piece of baggage
Twas a pleasant flight. No turbulence and so roomy. We finally landed in Phoenix around 11:30 p.m. local time. If everything were to go well, I could pick up my bags, catch the hotel shuttle bus and be in my room by 12:15. So it’s off to baggage claim I go.
Ugh! NO BAGS!
Of course. Why didn’t I expect this? I went to the baggage assistance counter and explained that my bags did not arrive. They looked up my bags using my tag numbers. My luggage was still at DFW and the airline did not know when the bags would arrive in Phoenix. I laughed. What else was there to do? I explained to the lady that I had to be at work at 7:00 in the morning wearing business casual. At the time, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and had not much than that in my carry on bag. I filed a claim for delayed baggage and they suggested perhaps buying new clothes at the only place open, Wal-Mart. I could then submit the receipt for reimbursement. I thanked them and set out on my new mission-getting clothes for tomorrow!
Chapter Four: Sam Walton, how could you?
As the hotel shuttle would not take me to the local Wal-Mart, I had to rely on Uber. My Uber app stated that “Pete” would pick me up in a Toyota Prius at 12:15 a.m., which was the time I was originally hoping to be in my room. A Prius pulled up, but some dude hopped in. I just figured, oh well, that must not be my Uber. However, the Uber app showed that my ride had arrived. Such confusion. After about 2 minutes, the dude (passenger) got out of the car. I walked up to the driver and said, “Pete?” He said, “Thelton”? I said, “Let’s do this!”
It was a fun ride to Wal-Mart. I explained to Pete about all the trouble I’d had during the day. He stated that he was impressed because not once had I complained and every time I mentioned a problem, I promptly followed it up with my plan to solve it. He liked that and told me that I should mention it to my supervisor. I laughed.
We arrived at the Wal-Mart Supercenter. A security guard was standing at the door. Pete asked if I thought they were closed. I told him that Supercenters don’t close. Just to be sure, I asked the security guard, who promptly told me that they were closed.
Pete looked at me like I had lost my mind. He was cool enough to take me to a different Wal-Mart. My short Uber drive turned into an odyssey in and of itself. Luckily we found a true Supercenter. I thanked Pete and began my shopping. It took me a while to find anything resembling presentable clothes, but I eventually found some black slacks. I asked one of the workers for a fitting room, but she told me that the rooms were closed and would reopen at 7:00 a.m. That’s okay. I’ll make it work. I got two polo shirts, a pair of slacks, socks, undershirts, a belt and a pair of cheap shoes. After paying and securing my receipt, I requested another Uber.
This time , I got Kevin, who was driving a smoky Impala. I hopped in and told him that it had been a long night. Kevin then said that it was his first day and he didn’t know which way to go. That’s ok, Kevin. We figured it out and I finally made it to the hotel. I didn’t even go to the front desk. I used my digital key on my phone and went straight to my room. The time? 2:30 a.m.
Chapter Five: But was it worth it?
My clothes fit just fine. My bags arrived in Phoenix the next morning and was brought directly to my room, so it was only mildly inconvenient in the long run. Here’s the kicker: after three days of training, they told us that they did NOT need us in Hawaii after all and stated that we would all be going home. It’s all good. I got to go on an adventure and see the city of Phoenix for the first time. Check out these pics…
Looking forward to the next time, Phoenix!