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The Travel Disaster That Wasn’t

, , , , , , , , , , , | Right | December 4, 2022

Work has sent me off to Chicago to conduct a training. I have arrived at the airport in San Diego, but the plane is delayed. It happens, but I’m now worried about my connection since the flight is not direct.

While we’re waiting, there is a small earthquake. Is this going to affect my flight? Yes and no. It is large enough to be felt but small enough that they’re just taking the reports of all the staff that there is no damage at face value and continuing. But my flight is still delayed. What was supposed to have been a 9:00 am flight is now well after noon, but it still hasn’t been canceled.

The flight finally comes, but I have clearly missed my connection, and by the time they get me onto a new plane for Chicago and I get into O’Hare, it’s about midnight. The rental car agency has closed, and I need to get to northern Chicago, about thirty miles away. My hotel is also up there.

My first decision is to find a room where I am, get my rental car in the morning, and hightail it up to my location to hopefully get there in time. However, the cost of the hotel by the airport is outrageous, so I make some more phone calls and find a long-haul taxi service to get me to my hotel. I have called to let them know that I am here but I’m stuck at the airport.

Fortunately for me, the training is taking place at a location right across the street from the hotel, so I don’t need transportation if I can just get to the hotel. They understand and say that they’ll be waiting for me and will have all the paperwork set up so that all I’ll need to do when I get there is sign on the line and I can go straight to bed.

The taxi driver is very sympathetic to my plight.

Taxi Driver: “How are you going to get back to the airport?”

Me: “I’ll either have someone at the training give me a ride back or find another taxi service to get me back.”

Taxi Driver: “No, no, I’ll have none of that. When is your flight out, and when do you expect to be done with training?”

I tell him, and I point out that the timing is such that I’ll pretty much need to leave immediately after the training in order to have enough time to get to the airport and through security to make my flight.

Taxi Driver: “I’ll make sure that I’m available at that time.”

He gives me his business card.

Taxi Driver: “Call me an hour before you think you’ll be done so I can be there to collect you.”

The next day went off pretty much just fine. I did my training, I called the driver, and he came to get me, driving a bit quickly (but not recklessly) in order to get me to the airport on time.

To that taxi driver, thank you so much for this. I’m sure that part of it was that you’d have a good fare, but it was still exactly what I needed given the predicament that I was in.

And by the way: when I got to the hotel, the paperwork was right there, I signed, and they directed me to the room that was right there on the first floor by the front desk: room 101.

It was actually a very nice room.

It’s Like The Days Of Radio Dramas

, , , , , | Working | November 15, 2022

I’m sitting at the gate at the airport. I’ve been largely ignoring the PA since they’ve been making boarding announcements for another flight at a neighboring gate. Then, I hear something over the PA that catches my attention.

Airline Employee #1: “I didn’t know you had friends.”

A few people in the waiting area laugh. A few moments later, we hear another announcement.

Airline Employee #2: “I have a lot of friends!”

More laughter.

Airline Employee #3: “Only someone without friends would say that.”

Airline Employee #1: “How much do you pay the ones you have?”

I repeat: this entire conversation happened OVER THE PA, broadcasted to everyone in the multi-gate waiting area. Much to my disappointment, at this point, the employees stopped using the microphone to joke around, but it certainly did break up the monotony of waiting for my flight.

A Hot Slice Of Justice, Part 9

, , , , , , | Right | November 15, 2022

I work at a pizza vendor in a Canadian airport. All we sell is eight types of pizza. Our ovens are very hot, so it only takes us eight minutes to cook a pizza. When a person places their order, we ring them up, they pay, and we tell them their order number, which is also printed on their receipt. We call out the order number when it’s ready.

Being an airport, people naturally have flights to catch, so very few wander far away from our seating area, especially since we tell them their order will be ready in under ten minutes.

A man comes up and orders a plain cheese pizza. He pays, and I tell him his order number is number seventy-two and that it will be ready in eight minutes.

Over the next eight minutes, my coworker and I prepare orders and call out the order numbers that are ready. If there is a pizza still sitting on the counter, we will call out the new order number and then the order number(s) of any unclaimed pizzas. We go through orders sixty-eight to seventy-one, which are all claimed.

We get to this man’s pizza

Me: “Order number seventy-two is ready!”

No one comes up to pick it up, but being busy, we don’t pay too much attention. Some people make a quick run to the restroom or are listening to music on their phone or something.

A minute later, the next order is ready.

Me: “Order number seventy-three is ready! Order number seventy-two is ready!”

A lady comes up, and takes order seventy-three, but order seventy-two remains untouched.

This goes on for over fifteen minutes, with several orders after him being called out and picked up. This man’s order number has been called out at least ten times.

Finally, we get to order number eighty-one.

Me: “Order number eighty-one is ready! Order number seventy-two is ready!”

A man comes up and picks up order eighty-one, and a few seconds later, the man who ordered seventy-two finally comes up and claims his pizza. He is not happy once he opens it up.

Keep in mind that airport security has a low tolerance for rude behavior and even less for threatening behavior, which can get you evicted from the airport, causing you to miss your flight, or at worst, even be arrested.

Customer: “Hey, my f****** pizza is cold!”

Me: “No need to swear at me, sir. Your pizza was ready fifteen minutes ago, and we’ve called your number out several times. I’ll be glad to reheat it for you. It will only take about thirty seconds to heat it up.”

Customer: *Very angrily* “No way. You will cook me a fresh pizza, and you will refund my money! I didn’t pay you to give me a d*** cold pizza and keep me waiting like this! I have a flight to catch!”

Me: “Sir, there is no need to shout or swear at me. Everyone here has a flight to catch. As I told you, your pizza was ready fifteen minutes ago, and we called out your order number several times, but you didn’t respond.”

Customer: “Bulls***! You just let my pizza sit there and get cold. I demand you cook me a fresh one and refund my money, or I’m going to come back there and f****** mess you all up! Fix this right now, or else!”

Once he makes this threat, my coworker contacts airport security, who arrives about three or four minutes later. Meanwhile, his tirade continues.

Me: “Sir, I am sure you are aware of airport rules regarding threatening behavior, and I will not tolerate being spoken to this way. I will reheat your pizza, and that’s the extent of what I’m willing to do.”

Customer: “No way!” *In a very angry, threatening tone* I… want… a… refund! And furthermore, I want a new—”

Me: *Interrupting him* “Sir! Stop this nonsense! I am not issuing you a refund, nor will I make you a fresh pizza. I told you already we called out your order number repeatedly over a fifteen-minute period and you didn’t respond. I am willing to reheat your pizza for you, no problem. But your behavior is against airport rules and can get you in serious trouble. So, I’ll advise you to calm down and take your pizza.”

Customer: “Utter f****** nonsense! I don’t see no d*** police badge on your chest, so don’t lecture me on the law! You never f****** called out my numbers; you just let my pizza sit there and get cold. This is—”

Me: *Interrupting him* “Stop it right there, sir! I am done with your abuse.”

I see security approaching behind him.

Me: “Those men coming over will handle this matter now.”

Security Man #1: “Sir, please calm down.” *To me* “What’s going on here?”

Customer: “I’ll tell you what going on here! This b**** of a woman—”

Security Man #1: *Interrupting* “Sir, please be quiet. I was addressing the employee, not you. Please allow her to answer.”

Meanwhile, the second security officer has stationed himself next to the man, ready to cuff him or whatever, should it become necessary.

Me: *To [Security Man #1]* “This gentleman is upset because his pizza — which we called out as being ready over fifteen minutes ago — naturally got cold. I offered to reheat it for him, but he immediately became belligerent and threatening to us.”

Customer: “That’s bulls***! I did no such thing. She’s trying to cover for her ineptness!”

Me: “My coworker and I called out his order number eight or ten times, and he never responded. He must’ve left the area or something.”

Customer: “Bulls***!”

Security Man #2: “Sir, I am not talking to you. Please be quiet. And now I will ask you once and once only, place your hands behind your back. You are under arrest for threatening behavior in an airport.”

Customer: *Attempting to push him away* “No! She’s lying and I will not be cuffed! I have a flight to catch in forty minutes. They are already boarding! You f****** need to let me go now!

Security Man #2: “I’m afraid you won’t be making that flight. Place your hands behind you right now! I’m done arguing with you!”

The man continued to argue, swear, and fight with them. The two security men finally got him cuffed and took him away. He was arrested and fined. He was also banned from entering or flying out of all the airports in Canada for life.

All for a cold pizza he was late in picking up.

Related:
A Hot Slice Of Justice, Part 8
A Hot Slice Of Justice, Part 7
A Hot Slice Of Justice, Part 6
A Hot Slice Of Justice, Part 5
A Hot Slice Of Justice, Part 4

Most Customers Have Already Signed Out

, , , | Right | November 12, 2022

I’m going on a trip. Usually, I park in the official airport parking, but I forgot to book it until the day before and it was all sold out. Instead, I book with one of the many private enterprises nearby.

I arrive in good time and park my car in a free spot. I go to the check-in hut, but there is nobody there. There is, however, a prominent sign on the door that says to go straight to the shuttle stop, and the driver will check my ticket. There is a mobile number for emergencies.

I head to the shuttle stop, where there is another sign that says the shuttle comes at fifteen and forty-five minutes past the hour. It’s currently twenty past, so I sit down to wait. Sure enough, at forty-five past on the dot, the shuttle turns up.

I chat with the driver while he checks my details.

Driver: “I’m happy you didn’t call me.”

Me: “Why would I need to call you? Everything is fine.”

Driver: “So many people call asking what to do or when will the shuttle come.”

Me: “But it’s all on the signs?”

Driver: “You think people read the signs?”

Airports Aren’t Normally Known For Being Chill Places, But…

, , , , , , , | Working | November 11, 2022

A few years ago, I was flying home for Christmas. I was at the airport, getting ready to go through security. I had extra stuff because I needed to work while I was gone, so I had my work laptop and needed equipment on top of my personal electronics. Getting unpacked took me a bit. Finally, I got everything onto the belts including my shoes and jacket.

I moved into line to go through the X-ray, and suddenly, lights started flashing and a fire alarm went off. It didn’t seem to be going through the whole airport, and no one was running or screaming, including the TSA agents. They did, however, stop letting people through the X-ray. The agent running it kept apologizing and saying they’d get us through ASAP. All of a sudden, this manager or supervisor or something came running up to this X-ray. (This was the only one that had this incident/issue; there were at least four other lines that got moving within about a minute.)

Manager: “Okay, people, we’re going to give this a minute, but you likely are going to need to go outside and wait while we clear things.”

The other passengers standing around and I kind of looked at each other in surprise. I glanced at the manager.

Me: “But what about our stuff?”

Manager: “You’ll have to leave it here and come back through security when we let you back in.”

I pointedly glanced down at my bare feet and held up my arms in my short-sleeve T-shirt.

Me: “Um, but what about this? It’s currently snowing, and I don’t know about them, but I don’t want to stand out in the cold with no shoes and no jacket. Plus, no offense, but if any of my stuff ends up missing or stolen because you made me leave it unattended, I’m going to come looking for it.”

The agent running the X-ray kind of started side-eyeing the manager, and he met our eyes and kind of shook his head no. I’m not sure if he was trying to stop me from getting into it with her or if he was trying to tell us they’d do what they could to not send us outside unprotected.

Manager: *Slightly huffy* “If you have to go outside, you’ll need to come back for it.”

Before I could point out the likely health hazards of forcing us outside like this, the alarm shut off. The manager just glanced up and then walked away, and we were allowed to go through the X-ray. I start putting everything away and getting everything back on.

As I was finishing up, I noticed the manager kind of half-hovering nearby and glaring in my general direction. She didn’t actually do anything, but I wonder if she was staring because we were holding things up (which was her fault in the first place, but let’s not talk about that) or if she was hoping for me to give her a reason to detain me. 

Luckily, I’d gotten there early enough that, even with the delay, I was able to take my time getting to the gate. The rest of my Christmas was just lovely, but I do wonder about that manager every so often.