Thursday, June 28, 2007
I Highly Recommend That You Acquire a Cousin Donna
On Tuesday, after a 4 hour delay and then an extra long flight from Sacramento to Dallas (6 hours......including the stop in Albuquerque to re-fuel), we arrived in Dallas to find that our connection to Jersey was canceled. It was 9 pm and after hours of bad weather, Dallas was done flying for the day. Thousands of people were stuck in the airport. Hotel rooms and rental cars were gone. The airport was handing out cots to stranded travelers (the picture is some of those cots). It was chaotic when we got off the plane, with very little information about what was happening. We hit the bathrooms and I scored JT some food (his first meal since he'd inhaled a plate of French toast nearly 12 hours earlier).
Then, while JT ate his Happy Meal out of a paper bag, we got in a long line to see what our options were. I called my family to give them the details. Then I used my cell to call American Airlines. And as I was on hold with the airline, my phone rang. It was my mother's cousin Donna, who lives in Dallas, calling to offer a hot shower and a bed for the night. "Stay where you are," she instructed, "I'll come to the airport and find you."
I hadn't seen Donna since I was a little girl but we exchanged details ("I'm the tired woman in the red dress with the tanned little boy," I said) and find us she did. Then she waited with us in the endless line (providing much needed good humor and patience). Via phone, American had re-booked JT and I to leave Dallas for Newark on Thursday morning. The Wednesday flights were full and we could try to fly stand-by, but I had to see an actual agent to make that happen. The long-line was the only path to an agent.
As the line slowly moved forward, we chatted and waited. The American counter was closing at 1 am and I just made it to the counter at 12:55. The tired agent booked us for stand-by on a Wednesday morning flight (and that flight did bring us home) and then we took the 15-minute drive to Donna's house. There Donna and her husband Cliff had a cozy spare bed. After some much-needed rest and yummy blueberries and toast for breakfast, Cliff gave us a ride to the airport on Wednesday morning. "Let us know what happens," he said as we left the car, "you are welcome for another night." Now that's what I call hospitality.
It seems particularly fitting that after a vacation that mainly involved visiting his grandparents and playing with his cousins, it was grandma's cousin who came to our rescue. So I write in praise of cousins everywhere, and especially cousin Donna and her husband Cliff, who rescued us and kept us sane for one more day of travel. After Cliff dropped us off on Wednesday morning, JT said to me, "well, that was a life-saver." I couldn't agree more.