Day #2 – Travel
Traveling during the holidays can be a nightmare. Traffic, cancelled flights, bad weather, all of can be frustrating when all you want to do is get from point A to point B. While traveling can be all these things, it can also be a time to see the best in people.
I know that a lot of the frustrations of travel during the holidays centers around the airlines. They tend to cancel flights, delay them, over-sell flights and all the while it appears that they really don’t care. Now, really the biggest issue is not really the airlines at all. It is usually the weather. That white Christmas you want, well, it does make flying difficult. The airlines cannot control the weather any more than we can. I think the thing that people get frustrated about is the seeming lack of empathy from the airlines and I would tend to agree with you. However, it does not matter whether it is a mechanical break down, weather, drunk pilot, all the reasons they cancel and delay flights is to keep us safe. Yet, we are often outraged when it happens to us. Who do we vent our frustrations to? The poor lady at the counter. Can you imagine having her job on days like that? She gets to tell 125 passengers that their flight has been delayed or cancelled. She now has to deal with 125 passengers and most will not be unhappy.
As I said before I have traveled a lot during the holidays in the past and I have seen everything. I have seen the irate screaming and yelling passenger, the rude customer service person, the customer who only wants to speak to the boss, you name I have seen it. With all these crazy irate and rude people there are also the amazing stories you would never get without these little setbacks. For example, one holiday season my wife was traveling home with our two kids (I was coming later), who were still very young, and they cancelled her final leg of her trip home because of a mechanical issue. The airline could not get another plane in until the next day. So my wife was stuck 3 hours from home without anything at all. The airline would not give the checked baggage to the customers nor were they going to put them up in a hotel, so she only had what she had on her with the two kids. Unfortunately, one of the kids seemed to have exploded. If you have kids, you will know what I am talking about. One minute everything is good and the next there is stuff leaking from every opening in the diaper. You have no idea how that much stuff can come from someone so small. It ruined his outfit and my wife only had one extra for each child on her carry on. What was worse was she did not have enough diapers to make it to the next morning. She had no way to go get any and really did not know what she was going to do.
While she was doing this there was a lady about 10 years older than her who was watching my wife struggle. We did not have cell phones at the time so she could only call me from the pay phone at the airport. She had called me and was crying and really did not know what to do. This lady went up to the counter and talked to the customer service person a for a few minutes and then came over to my wife. She asked my wife is she could use any help while just taking one of the kids and my wife almost to the breaking point didn’t really have an option and was so grateful for it. As they were sitting there cleaning up and feeding the kids they began talking about where they were both going. This lady was going right past the town where my wife was traveling and the lady told her that she just got a refund for her flight and is going to rent a car and drive. She then asked my wife if she would like to ride with her and she could just drop her off on the way through. My wife could not believe it. Things went from so bleak she had no idea what she would do, to being able to still get home that day. This lady talked the airline into giving my wife a refund and an extra ticket and two car seats for the trip because she had checked her car seats. My wife and this lady drove the 3 hours and met her parents. You do not know how much this meant for my wife. This lady never asked for anything in return. She did not have to do any of it. None of the other passengers even bothered to offer to help her with the kids but she did not seem to hesitate or even really ask for that matter.
My wife thought about this lady often during that trip and how grateful she was to have helped her. It is little stories like this that can make holidays and the travel worth it. She has had other stories similar where she really needed help and someone jumped at the chance. This is not at all who we are either. Both of us never like to ask for help from anyone for anything, so it really takes someone to just jump in to help without really asking. You wonder if these people would always do this for her anytime or if it was because it was the holiday season. I would like to think all year round, but my wife has had similar times (Yes, she seems to have trouble follow her when she travels. Which is why we travel separate) outside of the holidays when no one will lift a finger.
All the extra travel during the holidays not only creates more traveling issues than normal but it also presents more opportunities for people to show each other what kind of people they are inside. Yes, a vast majority do just go on their merry way, but it only takes one to make someone’s day a little brighter. It doesn’t matter if it is giving up your seat so someone can stay with their family instead of getting bumped, or it might be stopping to help someone who has slid off the road or has a flat tire. As crazy and frustrating as traveling can be during the holidays, it can also be equally rewarding if you just look in the right places.