Tragedy While On the Road

I was struggling back and forth whether or not to write this post, but here goes.  With our travels, we’ve had mishaps, missed connections, cancelled flights, sprints through international airports, and been suspected of smuggling items back and forth from the Caribbean.  These situations are rough when they are happening, but we find humor in them afterwards, and they end up being our fondest memories.

But sometimes, while traveling, things occur that you could never look back on with humor.  And the fact that you are traveling makes it that much worse.  And all you can do is hope something softens it.

About two weeks ago I was traveling for business.  While I was making my way to my connecting flight, I received a phone call that a relative of mine had passed away.

When missed connections and cancelled flight happen, we’ve advised that you slow the situation down in your mind and figure out what you want to do.  I learned from this situation that you can’t do that in this type of situation.  Everything was moving so quickly and my flight was boarding.  I couldn’t make any decisions–do I switch my flight? do I head home?–so by default, I got on the plane.

That started three and a half hours of dwelling.  Our flight faced a heavy head wind, so we ended up having a delayed landing just by being pushed backwards.

The problem with this situation and traveling for business is that you have other considerations to account for.  Yes, everyone would have understood, but there was also a lot invested in this, financially.

But because I couldn’t stop to think thanks to a boarding plane, I never really made a decision.  I really just set into aut0-pilot and boarded.  After the fact, I wonder if they would have let me push my flight forward while I figured out the decision, or even wonder if I should have pushed it forward a day and slept on it in my connecting city.

Being on the plane was miserable because I couldn’t exactly react to the situation then either.  And I am spoiled–I was sitting in first class with a first class level of service.  I can’t imagine trying to hold myself together stuck in a too-close-together middle seat.

But the thing that really took the edge off a tragic situation was how I was treated when I checked into the Hyatt French Quarter.  I was overwhelming myself with options.  The whole cab ride I was wondering if I should turn right back around and head back to the airport.  I was completely frazzled.

I must have seemed like an airhead when I checked in.  I couldn’t remember anything, I couldn’t find my cards, and I was just all around not put together.  Despite having no idea what situation I was going through, the man at the front desk treated me with a level of kindness and friendliness that helped me feel a little bit at home.  He was patient throughout the entire interaction, where I thought it would have been completely fair for him to get frustrated with me.

And then here’s where the niceties of benefits help out in a way you would never expect when trying to achieve status.  I was given a mini-suite, complete with a couch, and a check-in amenity.  I chose a bottle of wine and some comfort food.  And I needed it.  I’ll be honest; I opened the bottle of wine and planted myself on the couch for the night.

This just gave me another hint of home that made me feel comfortable enough to think, to mourn, and to make decisions.  And even though the Hyatt French Quarter staff had no idea what they were helping me with, I am completely appreciative.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. So sorry to hear that. Very tough situation. Hugs to you!

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