Mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to share moments I’ve witnessed or been a part of at the airport. This serves two points: 1) Despite a collective lust for electronics, people do still love to talk about themselves and
2) You honestly, truly, never know who you will meet. Could be a day changer. Or a life changer, as the first story shows:
#1: Meeting the owner of a five star resort
We went to Costa Rica for Mark’s birthday this October. International flights stir up all kinds of excitement for me, so I begin talking to the person next to me. It turns out he was traveling to Costa Rica with a group of 40-something other people. Mark and I find this amazing as we have been looking for a pod of people to jet set/ share stories with! We talk more and this gentleman informs us the owner of the resort the group is staying at is sitting a row behind us. Mark begins to converse with the owner and we learn the owner’s birthday is the day before Mark’s. Before the plane lands, the owner takes down our full names and tells us to swing by the resort at any time to check the place out.
We land and go our own way, separate from the group. Saturday evening rolls around and we are in La Fortuna, where the resort is. We drive up to the gate and the guard asks us for our names. (Let the record state that I was sure the owner had long since forgotten about us). Once Mark says that we talked to the owner, the guard nods in confirmation and lets us in.
This resort is unbelievable. It’s the biggest, nicest resort I’ve ever been to. The level of hospitality was Level: Nirvana. I cannot put into words. It was as though every employee was just so dang happy to be there and it wasn’t annoying. Lux oozed out of every corner of this resort. The resort is riverfront and has kayaks and tubes available. There is:
- Unlimited food and drinks for as long as you can take it
- A rock wall
- A wildlife preserve (panthers, toucans, et al)
- Complimentary shuttle that will take you wherever you want to go
- Live music
We go to the riverfront to get some food. Staff keep bringing us cocktails and beers. We keep expecting a check but the check never arrives. By the time the sun sets (somewhere between 6 and 7), I have been stupefied by Costa Rican cocktails. (They make this drink called a Pura Vida; pretty sure it’s made with Tang because it’s still sold in Costa Rica but the drink will get you sideways). We book a hotel room and are on our way to the hotel when Mark says…
Let me stop by the receptionist and see if by chance the owner set us up for a room for the night…
HE DID. Not only did we get set up with a room, it was the family suite (2 stories, sleeps 6) because it was the last room available in the resort. Every other room was taken up by one of the members of the owner’s 40-something strong party.
Bottom line: We ate, drank, and slept in a five star resort at no cost just because we talked to a guy on a 2 hour flight.
#2: Meeting a fellow travel enthusiast in your home city
We have a fair share of travel stories but it’s not every day that we meet someone who is well traveled and captivating. On our redeye flight back from Seattle, we are seated next to a gentleman who has a position in shopping center acquisitions and a heavy travel palette. Mark and I expressed a great interest in traveling to Asia, and the three of us spent nearly half of the flight exchanging travel stories and places on our “must see” lists. Come to find out, this gentleman also works in downtown Miami, a slingshot’s distance from Mark’s office. A foodie, a traveler, and someone local? It couldn’t possibly be. Faith in Miami restored.
#3: Group effort to get a distressed woman on a plane home
Unfortunately, I don’t remember what airport this happened at. I was sitting at the gate, waiting to board, and I noticed a woman audibly crying. At this point, I’m not sure if she’s trying to silently cry to herself or if she wants someone to notice her. After a couple minutes of deliberating, I finally went up to her and asked her what was wrong. She had just gotten terrible news, an unexpected death in her family, and she needed to be home. This was the last flight going to her city, and if she didn’t get on the flight, she would have to wait until the next day. The flight she was supposed to be on was cancelled, so there was a standby list of about 12 people, and she was number six.
Other people heard her situation, and we all went into “let’s fix this” mode. Five people needed to give up their spots in order for her to get on the plane. Three of the people in front of her on standby told the airline employee at the desk to move her up on the list. The employee said he could not do that unless people began to give up their seats. I didn’t have to be anywhere fast, so I volunteered my seat. Two other people did too. However, the first two people on standby were less than sympathetic. Funny enough, the others who were sympathetic became quite upset at the first two who wouldn’t give up their spots. Unfortunately, the woman did not get on the plane, but by the time boarding began, she had stopped crying, and was grateful knowing that “nice people do still exist.” The airline employee felt bad about the situation she was in and had her moved to a different airline (free of charge) that was going out closer to midnight, so at least she would get home that same day.
The airport is a platform of opportunity. You never know who you’re going to sit next to, or who you’re going to impact.