Planes, Trains, Automobiles, And Humanity

, , , | Working | April 19, 2016

(I’m a college student traveling from my home in North Carolina back to school in Pennsylvania after Thanksgiving break. Due to poor weather conditions and cancelled flights I’ve had a terrible travel day. Instead of going from NC to D.C. to Allentown, I’ve flown from NC to Cincinnati to Newark and then taken a shuttle from Newark back to Allentown. By the time I arrive at the Allentown airport on the last incoming flight of the day it is well after midnight. I don’t have a car in the lot, as I was planning on taking a taxi back to the college campus. The airport has technically shut down. After waiting about half an hour at baggage claim, it becomes apparent that my bags haven’t made the trip with me, so I go to the customer service counter for help. I ring the bell at the counter for service. The woman who comes up is wearing a hi-vis vest and is clearly not normally in this position. There are no other employees or travelers in the ticket counter area at all.)

Me: “I’m trying to figure out what happened to my luggage. I just flew in from North Carolina.”

Employee: “Okay, I need to fill out this form with your contact information and describe your bags for me.”

(She asks me my name, my flight number, and some other pieces of information, then asks about the bags again. As I speak, she’s slowly entering information into the computer, causing me to have to repeat myself several times to make sure it’s all correct.)

Employee: “Do you know what brand they were?”

(I don’t know, and I burst into exhausted tears at the question.)

Me: “No, I don’t! I’ve been traveling since seven am. It’s very late and I’m so tired I can barely remember my own name. I just want to get back to my dorm room so I can go to bed. I can’t call any friends to drive me because it’s too late at night. I was going to take a cab but there are no cabs left because the airport is closed. I don’t even know how I’m going to get back!”

(The woman looks me up and down.)

Employee: “Where do you go to school?”

Me: “[College].”

Employee: “Oh, my sister goes there! How about I take you? My shift ends in about 15 minutes and I’ll be driving right past anyway.”

(I didn’t have any shared classes or other connection to her sister, but she still drove me back and wouldn’t accept anything for the trouble. It was still an awful day, and I never did get one of those cases back, but she made it much better just by being kind.)

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