Alarm set for 4AM and I was in bed the night before at 10PM. I can never really fall asleep the night before a travel day – my heart and head feeling a range of emotions from excitement to stress – so when my alarm rang in the early hours of the morning, my eyes were wide open. My suitcase was already prepared and by 5AM the Uber driver was on its way. I arrived at the airport, checked in, made it through security in no time, joked around with the officer about the cold weather waiting for me back home and I was sitting at my gate with only an hour left before boarding.
06:25 Intercom voice ”Attention passengers, we will be boarding soon. Our flight crew is preparing the aircraft. Please, have your boarding pass and passport ready. Thank you!”
Washroom time. Purchase a coffee.
06:40 Intercom voice ”The captain is in contact with the airport. Due to bad weather, the flight might be delayed. We will keep you posted every 15 minutes or so.”
Eye roll. Great.
06:45 Intercom voice ”Passengers, your flight is cancelled. Please check our mobile application later today to find the time of departure tomorrow.”
& that was it. The intercom was turned off leaving everybody scrambling to figure out what was going on and what their plan of action was. Where to sleep? What to do? When will it be rescheduled? What time tomorrow? Will it actually leave tomorrow? So many questions left unanswered & absolutely no comfort gained from the #SorryNotSorry looks of the flight attendants walking away smiling and giggling.
I wasn’t smiling nor giggling. I was frustrated. Frustrated and anxious. I was scheduled to work the next day. I had things to do that couldn’t wait another day. I had plans and never had I planned for that to happen.
I sat silently on a bench in the small airport looking around me at all the couples and families casually retrieving their luggage and leaving the building. I took my phone and browsed through hotels in the area. I found one at a decent price which was located a mile and a half away from the airport. Since check-in was 3PM and I clearly had all the time in the world, I thought it would be a great idea to walk the 20 minute distance to the hotel….
No data. No sidewalks & a $#!t ton of construction detours later…I was sweating and angry. It was humid, muggy and I had no idea where I was going. I ended up near a highway, in a construction zone and in a field where the only thing I could hear were crows. I had a rolling carry-on that wouldn’t roll and that kept on jerking my arm. Every step of mine was followed by a curse word & every time I heard a plane take off, a wave of anger would overcome my entire body making every second of my trek pure misery. My eyes would tear up and I felt like screaming just because.
Because I didn’t know what else I could do.
2 hours later, I finally arrived at the hotel. Exhausted, sweaty and angry. I jerked my carry-on one last time, took off my backpack and sighed of relief. Behind the counter was an older woman. She had on a beautiful necklace and got up as soon as she saw me: “Hello there! You must be one of them who’s flight got cancelled!” I looked at her perplexed. ”I can tell by the way you’re dressed! Come, come!” she said, ”I have a room that’s ready for ya! I understand how frustrating it must be for you but like I always say, in unfortunate situations there’s the word fortunate! Here! We have a gorgeous pool outside and you have air conditioning in the room and they’re saying it’s gonna be a hot one today so definitely check out our pool and soak up some sun! Go put your luggage in your room and come down for the complementary breakfast! I won’t put everything away just yet so you can grab a lil’ bite to eat!” She handed me my key and I replied with a smile. She was so full of pep and energy & just like that, I instantly felt a sense of calm. All of the negativity that had consumed me left my mind and body. I opened the door to my hotel room, turned on the AC and sat on my bed. I wasn’t angry anymore. I felt at peace. I laid down and fell asleep.
I woke up feeling well-rested and surprisingly happy. I’d taken a 45 minute nap but it was enough time to press the restart button. I put on my bathing suit, grabbed my book and went to hangout by the pool. The sun was shining outside and I thought to myself how wonderful the feeling of its warmth was on my face. I felt lucky I had another day out in the land of palm trees. Especially when I knew that weather in the minuses and centimeters of snow were waiting for me back home. I then felt embarrassed. Embarrassed at the behavior I had when I heard my flight was cancelled. Embarrassed about how mad I’d gotten. Ashamed that I automatically focused on all the negatives of a cancelled flight instead of the positives. When you think about it, I was getting an extra day of vacation! I was making the best out of a bad situation and to be honest with you, lying by the pool smelling like coconut wasn’t at all bad.
I laid by the pool all afternoon. My skin kissed by the sun’s rays and my head at peace with the situation.
Now, every time a plane would fly over my head I laughed.
I was thankful I was safe & I was ”stranded” in a place with a pool surrounded by palm trees.
I was thankful for that lady who made sure the buffet was kept open long enough for me to get a coffee and pastry.
I was thankful for her bright smile and warm welcome.
I was thankful that in an unfortunate situation I was, in the end, capable of finding the fortunate…
PS; A very warm thank you to the lovely lady, who’s name I didn’t quite catch, at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Clearwater, FL. You were the inspiration behind this post. ❤