There is grace. There is grace all around. And in the most unlikely
I arrived at the airport today on time, only to find that I had missed
my flight because I had mistaken the carrier. I thought I was taking
Travelocity that had listed a flight at 1:49 pm and then realized I
had booked through Priceline instead for a flight that left at 10 a.m.
By the time I realized I had to fly back to New York today, the fares
had gone up astronomically and I spent several hours comparison shopping
That is probably how the mistake happened.
But wow. I have never made a mistake about a departure time in all my
years of traveling.
and I got to the airport early and they said that we could give up
our ticket and go standby on an earlier flight. I thought that made
sense, so I said yes. Then the weather turned and something happened
to the flight...so it looked like we would have to spend the night
at the airport. Linda was furious. I felt that I have committed some
I went to
the agent and use every ounce of persuasion that I had. The agent
felt something...and restored our ticket and our marriage survives.
(In fact, we bought a diamond for an engagement right that Linda is
I went dizzy with panic
and then drew a few deep beautiful breaths—I love breathing—and
tried to calm down
The ticket agent, a veteran of some 20 years with the airline, could
not have been more helpful. He actually invited me to join him behind
the counter and call Visa to try to track down the date I charged the
ticket so we could determine the carrier. He waited patiently as the
recorded voice ran through the usual litany of press one for this and
two for that.
When the snafu became apparent, a snafu for which I was entirely responsible,
instead of evoking airline rules, he worked to book me on the next flight
without any charge.
I could have wept for gratitude., Well, the fact is, I did. And I asked
for the name of his supervisor so he could be especially thanked.
I called his supervisor from the gate, explained that I was recovering
from surgery as well as worried about possible swelling in my arm from
my breast cancer related lymphadema. That I was overly tired and not
on top of my game. That I did not know what I would have done if a wonderful
flight reservationist named Jim Vokerst had not been so helpful.
He in turn told me that his wife was being treated for lung cancer and
he knew how stressful travel could be.
Then we talked radiologists and the Siteman Cancer Center and the Komen
Race for the Cure. It was lovely.
you do the Race? I was there with Melissa and two others. It was a
And I was struck how, in
the middle of a teeming terminal, in which travel is increasingly stressful
for everyone, airline workers as well as travelers, these two men were
As I write, I am sitting at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, waiting
for my next flight and feeling like a lucky, if tired, duck.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006