Getting the Ticket

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The thing that hits me the most was how horribly exhausted I was. Everything was perfect; I boarded my flight at 12:35 A.M. at the Atlanta airport as planned, and my dad was going to wait for me at the gate in Omaha at 3:00 A.M. As I got to my seat in the back of the plane, I thought maybe I would finally make it home that night. Just as I got comfortable, a few more worn-out, anxious people got on the plane; the flight attendant came on the speaker and announced that this flight to Omaha, Nebraska, had been cancelled.

I have never had a flight cancelled before, one had been delayed. I was with my father and we were in Pittsburgh after a volleyball tournament. Our flight was scheduled to leave at around 7:30 P.M. but it was moved to 10:10 P.M. The flight attendants had obviously had a very long day because they were in no mood to be nice. My dad told me to go sit on a bench while he figured it out. At the time I thought nothing different because my dad has always taken the lead in these situations.
As I walked off the just cancelled flight, I whipped out my phone to call my dad. He was speechless and could do nothing because he was not with me. He could only tell me to do one thing; get on the first flight home. As I walked off the plane puzzled and nervous, an older, very motherly woman asked me if I needed help. As I explained my situation to her, she told me that we would figure out how to get home. We walked to the desk to reschedule our flight; lucky for us, so had 250 other people. We found out that many other flights had also been cancelled that night. The line weaved like a snake through the ropes and then wrapped around another desk. When we were settled in our places in line I decided to check my phone: 1:31 a.m. I wasn’t sure how I could make it through my night because I had another volleyball camp the next day at Iowa State. I was very tired and knew that I would have to be awake for many hours to come; otherwise I would lose my spot in line. After around two hours of meeting new people and swapping our life stories, we were all tired and the line had barely moved. We made a sort of pack of people who just wanted to get back to our homes in Omaha: the woman I originally met right after the plane, a Russian girl, an older couple from Grand Island, and a college student who had spent the summer working at a camp in Rome. We spent the night complaining and reading juicy magazine stories when, all of the sudden, it was 5:15 in morning and we had made it to the front of the line!
Right about now is when I wished I would have listened to what my dad had been telling me. I thought back hard and remembered him being very respectful to the people and asking as many questions as he could. He finally got the woman to switch us to Delta Airlines. As we approached the Delta counters, we felt confident that they would just hand us our tickets and we would be off; however, the attendant told us that they got no report from Delta saying that we had a seat on the new flight. Once again, I was told to go sit on a bench and let my dad handle this.
“Counter Two is now open,” said the previously recorded operator’s voice. As I made my way over, I tensed up and didn’t know what to do. The lady was angry and not in the mood to deal with a sixteen year old girl. I was immediately put on standby to the next flight out at 8:20 A.M.
Finally I decided that standby wasn’t going to work for me. I marched up to the counter with the motherly lady I met and told her my problem. I wanted to use every little thing I could to get me home that morning. She helped me play the card that I was only sixteen and didn’t have a parent. It seemed to be working so I kept going. She went and talked to a lot of managers and typed on the computer for what seemed like forever. Then she gave me the news. She handed me a ticket for a seat on the 8:20 plane to Omaha that was supposedly full. I was very grateful but knew that I had to make it to the gate quickly. When we fially departed to go to our own gates, we were all so thankful that we had each other to get us through the night

At 8:00 A.M. I boarded my final plane home. I normally would have been miserable as I sat in my seat because I was right next to the bathroom, a rather large man, and a lady who could not keep her mouth shut, but to my surprise, I was thrilled. After the plane landed, I put my back pack on my shoulders proudly and practically marched off the plane and up the exit gate past security to see my dad. Anyone could tell that he had been up all night waiting to see when I would get home. He had bags under his eyes, a 5 o’clock shadow and a wrinkled shirt. When he saw me though, he looked wide awake; his eyes gleamed at the sight of me home by noon. He wanted all the details of how I managed to get home but I was too tired to even talk. All he needed to know was that I was home and did it by myself.





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