Scott was not feeling very lucky as he got ready for work Monday morning at the unusually late hour of 9:00 a.m. He normally left for work by 7:45 every morning, but that didn’t happen on this particular Monday. When his rental car pulled into the driveway at 3:30 Sunday night (or was it already Monday morning), he had no intention of setting an alarm to wake up on time for the start of the new week.
To say Scott had a long weekend would be an understatement. He had a weekend conference in Arizona, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was getting to and from Arizona. The trouble started on Thursday afternoon. He had a 2:30 flight out of the Little Rock airport. As was his habit, he arrived at the airport an hour prior to boarding time, at 1:00. He made it through security quickly and found a place to read a book near his gate. Although the airline made no announcement of any kind, he started to assume his flight was running behind when there was no gate agent and no plane by 2:00. His layover in Dallas was almost two hours, so he wasn’t concerned (yet), but he was a little annoyed at the complete lack of information being offered to the waiting passengers.
Finally the plane and the gate agent arrived at close to 3:00, about thirty minutes after Scott’s flight was supposed to take off. The flight crew turned the plane around relatively quickly, and Scott boarded his flight for Arizona, by way of Dallas, at 3:20. The wheels were up by 3:45, so Scott still wasn’t too concerned. Delays had only eaten up about an hour and fifteen minutes of his two hour layover.
Everything seemed ok as Scott’s plane landed in Dallas. He sent a text to his wife telling her that, despite the delay in Little Rock, it looked like he’d make his connection. But then ten minutes passed with the plane sitting at the gate without any one getting off. Then twenty minutes passed, and the captain announced that there was no gate agent present at their gate so they could not open the door. Finally, after sitting at the gate for around twenty-five minutes, the agent arrived and the door opened. Scott still had hope. He had fifteen minutes to make his connection.
As he ran through the Dallas airport, the thought occurred to him that, with any luck, his connecting flight would be running a little behind, too. His hope faded as he arrived at the gate and found the door closed. He could see his plane through the window, still sitting at the gate, but the agent told him he was too late. Because the airline overbooked the flight, they gave away his seat to someone on standby.
Scott struggled to remember that his trouble was not this agent’s fault, as she offered to rebook him on another flight that would board Friday morning at 5:30. She could even give him a $12.00 dinner voucher and a $7.00 breakfast voucher. Not interested in waking up at the airport Holiday Inn at 4:00 a.m., he begged the agent to find something else. His luck seemed to be improving as she informed him that she could probably get him on a flight later that evening, but he’d be on standby. As it turned out, he did get on that later flight, and he arrived in Arizona at 1:00 a.m. Arkansas time, exactly twelve hours after he arrived at the Little Rock airport.
Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon. When Scott arrived at the Phoenix airport for his return flight to Little Rock, he learned that when the agent in Dallas rebooked him for the 5:30 a.m. flight that he didn’t take, the rest of his itinerary was somehow deleted. Thankfully, it only took a stressful ten minutes to get him back on track for the return trip. He again made it through security quickly and found a place near his gate to read a book. He decided his luck had fully turned around as he boarded his plane right on time. He arrived in Dallas with a layover of just over one hour, and he called his wife to say he’d be home very soon.
He spoke too soon. Concern first hit the pit of his stomach when he overheard people talking about some bad weather heading their way. The gnawing intensified as his boarding time came and went, again with no announcement of any kind from the airline. The hammer fell about thirty minutes after the final leg of his trip was to take off. His flight home was not delayed; it was canceled. There were no more flights to Little Rock that night. He had two choices – he could stay over in Dallas or he could rent a car and drive home. He opted for option number two, and he pulled safely into his driveway at 3:30 Monday morning.
Scott wasn’t feeling very lucky as he got ready for work that Monday morning. But as he straightened his tie and hustled through the living room on his way out the door, he saw his wife rocking his newborn baby boy. As it turns out, mom and son had a standing appointment in the recliner around this time every morning, but Scott was never at home to be a part of it. Scott paused in the midst of his hectic morning and realized for the first time in days just how lucky he really was. As he watched his wife rocking his little boy, the heavy weight of a welcomed responsibility hit him like a ton of bricks. He decided right then and there to do everything in his power to make sure his little family was protected if the unthinkable ever happened and he couldn’t be there for them.