When I was fifteen, in the summer of two thousand nine, I had the greatest adventure of my life. It was frightening and exciting, but most of all it was a great learning experience. That summer adventure was one of the most unforgettable escapades and has provided glorious dinner conversation ever since.
That summer started off like any normal vacation. My brother and I traveled with our grandfather from Syracuse, New York to Albuquerque, New Mexico with a layover in Chicago, Illinois. The trip there went off without a hitch.
When our month in the hot summer sun was over, we packed up all our things and headed to the Albuquerque International Sunport to begin our journey back home to Syracuse. Sitting aboard the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 for the first leg of our trip, we heard our Captain report that we were going to fly over the O’Hare Airport for “a bit” before we landed due to storm clouds that had gathered.
When we touched down for our layover at O’Hare, amid rain and wind, we were quickly whisked out of the plane and into the bustling terminal. We then sprinted through the throng of people, bags, and screaming children, to our next flight’s waiting area. When we reached our destination, a person with a clipboard came up to the microphone and announced that, “due to inclement weather, the Jet Blue flight from Chicago to Syracuse, New York, has been delayed for half an hour”.
In exactly half an hour, a different person announced to the group spread out amongst each other that the flight was pushed back another thirty minutes. A collective groan was audible amongst the masses.
The next several hours were torture. A cat-and-mouse game of delays and false hope ensued, which only made the weary travelers more aggravated. Finally around five in the morning, a flight attendant announced to the exhausted group that the flight had been canceled and that stand-by flights were available. What happened next can only be described as sheer madness.
Several people ran up to the podium to claim standby seats, while many others whipped out cell phones, then ran through the throng of panicked people to their next destination. I looked up at my grandfather and he too was talking quickly into a cell phone while grabbing our bags and trying to wake my brother. The next hour’s events went by in a blur of anxiety, but we found ourselves climbing into a yellow taxicab.
About twenty minutes later, we climbed out of the taxi and found ourselves standing in front of a Greyhound Bus Station. This was my first time entering a bus station and it was exciting to experience something new. We boarded a giant grey coach bus with ‘Greyhound’ plastered across the side.
It was about a day’s drive to get home to Syracuse. When we arrived at the bus terminal it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Our parents welcomed us and we talked about how horrible it was and how much we hated coach busses now, and how we just wanted to go home and sleep in our own beds.
Looking back on those couple of days, I smile and think about how much fun it was. Sure it was terrifying while it was happening but it did teach me a lot about how I handle the unexpected. It taught me that even when things don’t go as planned, it’s okay as long as you remember that there is always another way to solve your problems
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