We recently returned from a trip to Oregon. We spent some time with Chris' family following the passing of his grandfather, and planned to return home to Charlotte with a comfortable connection in Salt Lake City.
|We've got a ticket to ride!|
|All smiles en route to Portland!|
It started out well. We enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at our hotel, and planned to eat lunch in SLC, our connection. While in flight to SLC, the pilot notified us that SLC airport had just closed due to a wind storm, and there was a chance we would turn back. We flew another 30 minutes or so before feeling the plane veer sharp left, as the pilot announced our immediate return to Portland, followed by a change of plans...we would divert to Boise to refuel, and wait for SLC to reopen. We landed in Boise and sat on the tarmac for over two hours before getting in the air again to SLC.
Upon arriving in SLC, we waited in quite a long line to rebook our connection, which we had now missed. We had also missed lunch....and dinner...being cooped up on a plane all afternoon. Rebooked on a flight early in the morning, we searched for a hotel to camp at for the evening. There was only ONE still available, so we bypassed food and headed for the shuttle.
We were certainly not dressed for the snowy, chilly weather that greeted us outside at the curb. Both kids folded into us, shivering as we waited for the hotel shuttle to arrive. A group of people outside had been waiting and hopped on the shuttle as it pulled up. The driver promised he'd return in 15 min, so we stepped inside the doorway to wait it out. As we did that, a large group of people sauntered outside, discussing hotel accommodations...we were all going to the same place. Waiting inside was no longer an option if we wanted to get on the shuttle, so we returned to the curb. As the shuttle pulled around (40 minutes later), hysteria ensued as people threw themselves onto the shuttle ahead of us. I've never seen such reckless, animalistic behavior up close. Despite pleas from kind onlookers around us, no one volunteered to "let the children go first", though we had been standing there longer than any of them.
We brought our shivering children inside and weighed our options.
OPTION 1: We could stand out in the cold and fight for the next shuttle (another 40 minutes, surely). That would land us at the hotel late at night- with no bags- and the prospect of fighting these same idiots for a shuttle in the morning.
OPTION 2: We could sleep in the airport.
The second of the options seemed surprisingly better, especially since it involved food in the immediate future. (Mama gets hangry.) We decided to go for it, and I immediately burst into tears. I immediately felt guilt for not fighting harder and getting a bed for my children. I was writing speeches in my head, berating the greedy herd that put us in this position, while wandering the airport looking for food. By this time, everything had closed....except McDonalds. Good ol' disgusting McDonalds.
We bought a couple blankets and neck pillows and settled some chairs in the corner of the terminal. As we tucked them in, Kendall looked at us and exclaimed "we're really sleeping at the airport?!" As expected, she dropped off to sleep immediately, and Carter followed a couple hours later (that kid....). Chris and I soon gave up on the prospect of sleeping, scrolled through our phones, watched the clocks, grabbed coffee at 5 a.m., woke our sleeping kids and headed for our gate to check in.
|Early, when the adventure was still "fun"ish.|
Chris described this whole experience as brushes with the worst of humanity. And I'm fairly certain I've done a good job showcasing the darkest points of our travel experience. But I'd like to note that we encountered some amazingly compassionate people along the way:
- The young man wearing a hoodie and Beatz headphones who allowed our family and a woman in a wheelchair to step in front of him at the rebooking counter.
- The businessman waiting for the shuttle who offered us sweatshirts from his suitcase when he saw our kids shivering.
- The retired teacher who berated the crowd on our behalf in a failed attempt to get us on the shuttle. "Sorry...I'm a retired teacher. Gotta stick up for the kids" she said.
- The flight attendant who supplied us with extra cookies and kind words.
- The foreign lady with a severe limp seated 5 rows in front of us, who came back to our seats and handed my kids activity books and colored pencils at the beginning of the flight.
- The flight crew and pilot that welcomed Carter into the cockpit, let him push some buttons and presented him with "wings".
And in the end, by the grace of God, we got home safely. Needless to say, we all slept very well :)