Last Wednesday I flew out to Tampa to spend some time with my mom. We got our rental car and after crossing what felt like a dozen bridges we were in Clearwater Beach.
The best way to describe it is, the end of the world, with a white beach. It was lovely. It was peaceful. The people were friendly and I had nothing to do but stare at the clouds and listen to the waves.
Monday arrived and I was scheduled to fly out at 9:45 a.m. All I had to do was return the rental and I’d be back in San Diego by 1:50 p.m. to celebrate my birthday with Derek.
There is one thing very important thing I skimmed over.
When I made my reservation my mom told me that all her friends use a particular car rental company because they offer a $10 a day special. Honestly I didn’t have a good feeling about it and ignored the advice. I figured I’d get a car when I arrived from one of the many that are right at the airport.
The day before I left I get a reminder to reserve the $10 deal online and I did! I wasn’t thrilled about waiting for their shuttle to pick me up. I wasn’t thrilled with the rinky dink set up but I thought, I have the car, let’s go have some fun!
Being the responsible, first born that I am I made sure I kept the address and phone number of the company in a safe place and entered it in my GPS bright and early yesterday morning. Everything was moving along nicely. No traffic. No accidents. I was quite pleased with how smooth the morning was going.
I get through all the GPS instructions and I’m sitting on a dead end street. Hum, I don’t think this is right. I pull over and call the number, it goes to an answering machine. I double check the address. I try again and nothing. After calling seventeen times I decide it’s probably so close to the airport that if I go there, I’ll see it.
Well airports are like cities all their own and once I was in, I was stuck. I see all the car rental companies I’ve used before but this $10 a day company is no where to be found. I decide to leave the airport and try again but I was stuck in the continuous loop of Tampa airport. Just when I was strengthening my resolve to find this place I hear in my head…
ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION!
I look at the clock and know that even if I miraculously found them and they miraculously had the shuttle ready for me, I probably would miss my plane. I call my mom who is still in Clearwater and say, mom I have to leave the car here and catch my flight! I pull into short term parking and recite to her my floor, aisle, car plates and where I left the keys. She tells me she’ll take care of it and I grab my suitcase and run.
Thankful the elevator opens directly in front of American Airlines check-in. I can see about twelve people trying to self-check in and one overwhelmed agent. I look at the clock and I have less than twenty minutes before they close the flight. I quickly swipe my driver’s license and the machine thinks and thinks and thinks. I enter my flight number and it thinks, and thinks and thinks some more! Finally my boarding pass falls out the bottom – NO, it’s not my boarding pass, it says, “your information cannot be located”!
Inside I’m freaked out but outside I’m calm.
I look around and see a man come out of a door about ten feet away and I yell as loud and friendly and calm as I can, good morning! I let him know I can’t get checked in. He types loudly on his keyboard and says, the flight has closed so you can’t check in if you have a bag. My heart sinks. I smile and say, oh no problem my bag can go on a later flight. But of course it can’t, federal law crap!
He continues to type and says, I can get you on a flight to Chicago at noon. I’m thinking, I hate Chicago! I had to spend the night in that airport once. It’s ALWAYS cold and snowing in Chicago. I look at him with my big, brown eyes and ask, is that the best you can do?
He runs back to the door he came from.
I had no idea if that was a yes or no but I figured I might as well wait it out. I stare at the clock and after a solid five minutes he comes out of the door like a bat out of hell with two pieces of paper and my baggage sticker. He hands my boarding pass and says, “RUN”!
And I did, yelling thank you Frank!
I made it to San Diego as planned and my suitcase made it too!
My Sweetie planned a beautiful evening with steak, cake, flowers and gifts…I had to laugh because I always ask for adventure and I got it. :0)
BTW my mom and her driver T.J. found the rental car and safely returned it. AND I won’t do the $10 deal ever again! LOLHungry for More, Monique Alvarez p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!