A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Airport

I’d like to preface this by saying I have ALWAYS had wonderful experiences with Southwest Airlines and have received excellent customer service from them in the past. But I will get to that momentarily.

Allow me to set the stage for you. Me. Reno for some gigs. Hotel approximately 10 minutes from airport. I departed shortly before 6am for my 7:30am flight. Ample time, so it’d seem. I had my GPS ready to go.

I came to the I 80 East entrance to find it closed. Hmmm. GPS re-routed me to another entrance to said freeway. It was closed as well. Road work. GPS would/could not find me another route. After about 30 minutes of this nonsense and starting to feel panicked, I pulled into a gas station and go inside and ask the clerk, “I 80 East is closed. How can I get to the airport?” Deer in the headlights, he answers, “I don’t know. I live in Sparks.” I said, “That is EAST from here. How do you plan to drive home if not on the freeway?” Stare. Blink. Blink. “Go across the street to Raley’s and ask them.” So, I did. I ran inside, on the verge of tears at this point, where a VERY kind woman gave me EXCELLENT directions. 20 minutes later I was at the airport. I pulled into the rental car return at 6:58am. May I remind you again my flight was at 7:30am.  The gentleman assisting me said, “Don’t worry! You’ll make it.”

I ran clear to the other side of the airport, tears welling up in my eyes as I see the ocean of about 30 people in line at the Southwest counter. I run directly to the counter and plead, “Please help me. I got lost and now I am so late and might miss my flight.” She yelled, “Back of the line, sweetheart! These people have been waiting!”, and pointed her giant boney finger toward the back of the line. Then, even though I bit my lip, a tear rolled down my cheek. I was humiliated. People stared. It was awful.

As I approached the front of the line, this same woman called to her co-worker, “Get your ear plugs ready! You’re about to get a story!” Then, my luck continued when I ended up with her assisting me. “What time is your flight, hun?” I tell her, and she says, “You’re not going to make it. Let’s rebook you.” Then, she finally became HUMAN again, and said, “If you run, do you think you can make it?” I said yes, she checked my bag and said my bag might not make my flight, and I was ok with that.

From that moment the boarding pass was handed to me, my feet didn’t touch the ground. I ran. Please, make note of this, as historically I can’t even run if someone is chasing me. I cruised through security. My feet and heart raced as I ran to my gate to find my boarding group had not started boarding yet. A sigh of relief. I looked down at my phone to catch the time – 7:15am. This was TRULY a MIRACLE!

Silver lining: my bag ALSO made the flight.

It was a rough end to what was a WONDERFUL weekend working in Reno with great people. More on that later…

Here’s just a thought I’d like to leave you with today: if you hate people, don’t work in a service industry. Find a job that requires little interaction with people, that leaves you in a cubical or a basement somewhere you can’t make other people as miserable as you are. You are the worst. I am sorry your life sucks, but that is not my fault. Go get a journal or something. I will undoubtedly be seeing you at a DMV some day, this is your destiny. Good luck, and Godspeed.

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