Monday, August 6, 2007

Your Mom Is the Mother of Invention

When you can't find a safety pin or other appropriate knitting tool, you use what's at hand. My stitch marker? Yes, it's a piece of sugary kids' cereal.

Back from sunny southern California *sigh* and back to work. The trip out was unremarkable and the vacation was lovely. However, as I thought about the return trip, I thought about how, if you need to, you can sometimes make things happen.

We were scheduled to fly out of San Diego at 10 p.m. First our flight was delayed 1-1/2 hours. Then it was cancelled. We were able to get a flight to Phoenix and then another one to Philly. The thing was, said the nice young woman at the airline, my party would not be able to sit together.

My party? Would you describe a crack-of-dawn flight with two boys (9 and 12) who were nearly twitching with the anticipation of seeing their father and two dogs after 8 days as a party? A "rave," maybe, or even just a riot of two.

“I am traveling with my two children, who are both minors,” I told the nice young woman in a pleasant, relaxed tone. “I need to sit with my children, so you'll need do whatever you need to do to make that happen. I’ll hold.” About 5 minutes later she was telling me that we would be sitting together. Nice!

On our arrival at the Phoenix airport, my fellow passengers and I who were assigned to rows 25 and up were invited up to the desk. Thing was, our plane from Phoenix to Philly didn't have rows 25 and up. We’d have to wait and see if enough people gave up their seats before we’d know if we’d be on our happy way.

One of my sons burst into tears. The other one looked shell-shocked. After I sat them on the floor – since there were no empty chairs anywhere in our or the nearby 3 gates – I strolled back to the desk.

“So if we give up our seats and take the 3 p.m. flight instead of the 10 a.m. flight, you’ll give us tickets to fly anywhere in the U.S.?” I asked.

“Yes,” the nice young woman at the desk answered with a bright smile on her face.

“And if there aren’t enough seats and we get bumped to the later flight,” I went on, “we’d still get the tickets?”

“Yes,” she said, her smile slowly disappearing.

“Well, since we were supposed to be on a nonstop flight last night at 10 p.m. and have been screwing around from then until now,” I said in that annoyingly pedantic manner I’ve been told I have, “we really, really, really need to be on this flight.” I bared my teeth in what I hoped was a smile.

I know it was nothing I said or did that got us on that flight, but I’m sure it was my politeness and air of calm desperation that did the trick. We made it, albeit separated by the aisle and a few rows. (I took care of that by trading with a nice young man who was traveling by himself. I feel badly that the two nice young children who were in that row spent about half the flight whining and calling for their mother. Really, I do.)

The moral of the story (and you just know there has to be one): It never hurts to ask. It never hurts to be nice. It never hurts to smile … usually.

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