(Continued) Connecting in Denver…or not?

(Continued) Connecting in Denver…or not?

(Continued from previous post, PDX)

I hung up the phone with the clueless Southwest ticket agent and hurried back to Gate E.  It was time to start the boarding process.  There was just one small problem: there was no plane!  Make that one very large problem!  They had obviously been announcing something and I had missed it.  People were already lining up at the ticket counter.  At that moment, I was tired, hungry (I had only had a few bites of the apple fritter when she’d made the announcement about said carry-on) and more than a little irritated.

I got in line behind two Americans and a twelve year old Chinese boy who was headed to Denver to become an exchange student with an American family.   He was playing a game on a gigantic smart phone that made my large “smart phone” look incredibly small.  I wondered how this child’s family could possibly part with him?! 

I was on the phone with my class-act daughter who was graciously reminding me to “breathe, Mom” and “remember, Mom…when it’s your turn…it’s not the fault of the person behind the desk”.

About that time my attention was garnered by an interestingly dressed lady in the United line next to mine.  She appeared to shop in a catalog which was a cross between Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer and the Vermont Country Store.  I couldn’t decide which.  That line was supposed to be headed to Albuquerque.  At any rate, she was one mad wet hen.  She pitched a very loud hissy fit.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Finally, it was my turn.  After seeing the mad wet hen act, I was the kindest Southern Belle you ever saw and when she said “can I help you?”, I replied “I sure hope so!”  No hissy fits for this girl!

Finally, she worked it out that she should leave me on the last direct flight from Denver to DesMoines.  Since it was clearly United’s fault, if I missed the flight, they would pay for accomodations in Denver for the night.  Of course, I would be one sad grandmom and there would be four sad grandchildren that night if that happened.

We finally boarded and, eventually, the plane began its ascent.  I could see the winding Columbia and Willamette Rivers and the mountains in the distance.  Before I realized it, a tear traveled down my left cheek.  I quickly wiped it away.  I knew that, most likely, I was seeing this for the last time.  I glanced to my left and saw that the gentleman beside me was reading his Bible on his iPad (I would find out later that he teaches Bible in a Christian college).  I glanced down to see one of my lifetime verses appear in a very large font on his iPad about that time…

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

The plane landed in Denver ten minutes AFTER my connecting flight was to have left.  I’d like to tell you that they had a cart waiting for us and rushed us to the waiting airplane.  The truth is that, while they did hold the plane for the four of us who had this connecting flight, they made us run the ten gates between.  I was mad at United’s pathetic public relations but still glad to have made the flight and finally be on the last leg and headed home.

On the flight from Denver to DesMoines, there was a precious high school senior sitting next to me.  She had spent the week in music camp for the viola.  She had been home schooled for most of her life and was now taking classes at two public schools in DesMoines.  In her lap was a Christian book that she was reading.  We talked for the next hour and the time flew by.  Once again, I was amazed that our Heavenly Father pays attention to the details of our lives.

Soon, it was time to land.  My daughter and my two youngest Iowa grandchildren were there waiting.  I didn’t realize that my daughter had taken the precious photo below but I think it speaks volumes.  My young granddaughter below is quite tall for her age and my grandson is very small and so I bent down between them.  I love the fact that she hugged my back and that her blue eyes had shed some happy tears like my brown eyes did!

I should have realized when the four of us were literally running the ten gates between flights that no one was running along side me with my luggage and that it would not be waiting for me on the other end.  It wasn’t.  Once again, it was my gracious daughter to the rescue.  I was too sleep-deprived and too tired to think.  She took the paper work from my hand and took care of it.

When my daughter and her husband had traveled to Ethiopia to bring home my precious dimpled grandson, their luggage had not arrived with them.  They spent two weeks in Ethiopia without it!  They had traveled with gifts for the orphanage and clothes for my grandson which, thankfully, made it but their suitcase did not arrive.  They purchased just enough to make do for the time they were there.  THIRTY days later, their battered suitcase showed up at their front door…no tags, no labels – nothing.  Amazing.  Before I left the airport, the airlines agent handed me a goody bag and my daughter loaned me a sleep shirt for that night.  The next day, my two suitcases were delivered to my daughter’s front door.  Life is good…




It was a week ago Saturday morning.  I was calmly sitting in an empty gate area in the Portland PDX airport waiting area enjoying a few bites of an apple fritter and a cup of coffee when I heard my name paged overhead.  Hadn’t heard that in a few years.  Not since my days working in ICU and that has been awhile.  I thought surely there was some mistake when the operator announced my name again, and this time said for the entire airport to hear:

“Please return to the Southwest Ticket Counter!  If you arrived on the shuttle from the Holiday Inn airport hotel (I did), you have taken the wrong carry-on!” 

Well, hellllooooo!  THIS time I glanced down at MY carry-on which CLEARLY had MY name and identification tag on it but to be sure opened it up and – yep!  There it was!  MY personal journal and MY blood pressure prescription – oh yes, clearly labeled!  (I was obviously going to need it any minute now – the prescription that is).  This time, I was mad!  I went to the nearest telephone and picked it up.  The operator connected me with the Southwest Airlines desk.  I identified myself and assured her that I had never been to the Southwest ticket desk!  Ever.  I was flying United and, in fact,  I had checked in at curbside!

To make matters even clearer to her, I commented that I had never ever flown their airlines!  I was in possession of my own clearly marked carry-on!  She suggested that I just bring said carry-on to the Southwest Airlines ticket desk!  What part of my CLEAR explanation did she not understand?!  My plane was (supposedly) minutes from loading and I had absolutely NO intention of heading “back” to somewhere I’d never been to in the first place!  While I DO have a “mercy” spirit (it’s one of my “gifts”), I was I having a hard time coming up with it at the moment!

Once again, I reassured her that the carry-on in my hot little hand was my very OWN luggage.  I felt sorry for the two individuals who had each other’s luggage – I really did.  And, in the end, I would arrive on the Prairie with ONLY this carry-on (next post) and more than my share of frustration with the airlines industry.

Oh, how I was looking forward to actually being within DRIVING distance of family once again…

drama continued next post…

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