It finally happened. My family and my clothes arrived at a destination on time, but my long staff did not. It makes sense that it would happen in Orlando. As good at their game as Southwest is, they still have no control over how long it takes TSA to inspect a plethora of oversized baggage coming into one of the tourist meccas of the country.
I’m deducing that that’s why my staff didn’t come in on my flight. But it also didn’t come in on the next flight from Baltimore. I know because I was still in the airport when the next flight arrived. I was told to get out of line at the lost baggage office and go look for it in the next drop of Baltimore luggage. So I had to spend another half hour in the airport when it didn’t come on the second flight, and I still needed to report it.
The night felt ungodly at times. It included: landing in a thunderstorm with my stomach in my throat; temporarily losing my beloved staff (it arrived this morning); experiencing one of the longest car rental processes ever; having the GPS on my phone insist that my motel was thirty-two minutes away when I knew it should be less than ten; having the front desk man be nowhere near the office and having to track him down by website and phone in order to check in; and, finally, having a cut-rate bar as the only open source of food at midnight that didn’t come in a cellophane bag.
What saved the night and my sanity was an adolescent daughter who’s as impatient and demanding as I am – only she doesn’t have the necessary filter we adults all know we’re supposed to act like we have. At one point in the airport, after the second flight didn’t deliver my staff, she looked at my dejected face and just silently reached out and bear hugged me. I thanked her and told her she was being great, even though I knew she was hungry. With a grin and in a why-are-you-surprised tone of voice, she said, “That’s because you gave me cookies.” Bringing cookies for the flight may have been my smartest decision in a long time.
Later in the rental car, sitting in darkness by the side of a highway ramp trying to figure out what was wrong with my GPS, the hungry girl I would have expected to finally be flipping out through no fault of her own just looked out the window and said: “It’s like we’re cursed or something.” Her delivery was priceless. I had to laugh. And with tension relieved by laughter, I cleared out the address, re-entered it for the third time, and for reasons only God understands, it finally gave me a route that was seven minutes away, not thirty-two.
It was remarkable. I remembered the cookies, but she remembered that sometimes I need her, too – to do the best she can not to add to a problem. She remembered, and she came through. What a blessing on a cursed night of travel.