Oh no…How did this happen?… What do I do?…How will I get to my family?…Will I have to spend the night in this strange place…alone…
These were some of the thoughts racing through my mind. This particular account is one of the scariest memories of my life-and it occurred during one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.
I was completely ecstatic to meet my cousins and aunt this past summer for our vacation in Destin, Florida. We had plans to meet in Pensacola and then drive to Destin. My choice of travel: Delta Airlines. Flight Path: one-way ticket that departed Louisville, Kentucky, stopped in Atlanta, Georgia, and landed in Pensacola. Accompanying travelers: me, myself, and I.
This wasn’t the first time I’d flown by myself, but it was the first time it wasn’t a nonstop flight. Arriving at the airport, I was a little anxious. “Don’t worry. You’ll be in Florida before you know it,” my mom assured me. I decided to take her advice and ease up my tension.
All went smoothly from Louisville to Atlanta. But the supposed “one stop flight” was changed. Thinking I could just stay on the plane during the Atlanta stop so I would already have my seat for the next destination, I was very surprised when another man and I were the only two left. We were shocked to find the next destination for our plane was Rochester, New York. My initial thought was that there must have been some mistake. Then the realization of being by myself in the biggest airport in the nation brought worry and panic. I didn’t know what to do because I never expected that to happen.
The man knew that I was scared. He quickly tried to calm me by distracting my thoughts. “My name is Fred Seever. Were you expecting to go to Pensacola as well?” Barely managing a head nod in reply, he told me we would work things out and not to worry. Should I trust this stranger?
We went to customer service and asked what had happened. They told us the flight had been automatically reassigned to a different plane and gate-and that we had five minutes to get there. (Why no one cared to let us know of this flight change still baffles me to this day.) We sprinted to try and make our flight. Out of breath, we finally arrived-but it was too late.
We went to the service phones again and found out the next flight to Pensacola was departing in about an hour but it was full so they put us on the waiting list. Would I ever get to Florida? Fortunately, we were able to board the next flight thanks to our positions on the waiting list. Relieved yet still anxious, I was finally able to breathe again.
There was no greater feeling than landing in Pensacola and running into the arms of my family. I quickly told Mr. Seever, who was no longer a stranger, how much I appreciated everything he did for me.
Once we left the airport and drove to Destin, the rest of my vacation was amazing. My cousins and I spent hours on the beach, parasailed and made memories for life. No sooner was I calmed down before it was time to leave Destin. Thank goodness we were driving back and not flying- I think it will be a long time before I fly alone again.
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