Missed flight

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on’t just sit there; do something.

“Do not wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.” ~ Unknown

My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., but I was already awake. I had a plane to catch.

The flight was at 6:45 a.m., but I was only five minutes from Lawton / Ft. Sill Regional Airport. The size of the airport is comparable to the produce section at the Piggly Wiggly, so I had plenty of time.

I’d fly from Lawton to Dallas and then on to Atlanta from there. I was scheduled to arrive in Atlanta at 11:40 a.m., fast time, and would be home in plenty of time to perform at Auburn Arena for the Youth for Christ Characters of Character event featuring Si and Alan Robertson from Duck Dynasty.

At 6 a.m., I walked through the automatic doors at the far end of the building and dropped my rental car keys in the designated slot at the Enterprise counter. It was Saturday, so there’d be nobody there until 9:30 am..

I then walked toward the ticket counter to print off my boarding pass and to check my bag, but there was no one there.

Apparently that person also scans boarding passes at the gate, and likely cleans restrooms and maintains the airplanes, as well.

Figuring I could check my bag at the gate, I printed off a boarding pass from the kiosk and proceeded to security, but before I could even remove a flip flop, I was informed that I wasn’t allowed to check my bag at the gate.

I travel a lot, and this was a first for me, as it was the other two would-be travelers who were in the same predicament.

I wasn’t overly concerned because there were six other flights leaving Lawton that day, all for Dallas, and I was certain I’d be on the next flight.

When that person, who turned out to be a she, returned to the counter, she informed us that the next available flight was at 6:55 p.m. Usually, there are plenty of vacant seats, but since there was a basic training graduation at Ft. Sill the previous day, all flights up to that final flight were booked.

I just had to get to Dallas. I knew there’d be a flight from there. Getting there would be the problem, but I wasn’t about to give up. I had a show to get to!

Since I couldn’t rent a car until 9:30 a.m., I decided to reacquire the keys I’d turned in an hour earlier, which would be no easy task.

After inventorying my belongings, I removed the wire from my spiral notebook and made a hook out of it. Using the flashlight from my iPhone, I was able to “MacGuyver” my keys from the black hole and was Dallas bound within minutes with one passenger in tow.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to make it happen.

Half way there, I called Enterprise to let them know my plans had changed. The guy, Pete, told me because of the changes, my rates would change. In addition to $300 more dollars, I’d also be charged $0.35 a mile.

That didn’t sound right, so at 9:30 I called the Enterprise agent in Lawton. She was very nice and said there’d only be a $50 drop-off fee. I was relieved.

When I turned in my rental at Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) International Airport, they waived the $50 drop-off fee altogether. I was ecstatic.

A previous version of me would’ve accepted the first option, but life has taught me to always explore other options, because there’s usually a better way.

My airplane departed DFW at 12:50 p.m., slow time, and I was in Atlanta by 4 p.m., fast time. By 4:30 p.m., I was headed south on Interstate 85, and by 5 p.m., slow time, I was home.

After a quick shower and shave, I put on my Army Service Uniform, my “dress blues,” and was rubbing elbows with Si and Alan Robertson by 5:30 p.m.

Although I was just a small fish in a large duck pond, by 7:30 p.m. I’d performed in front of my largest crowd to date and left the stage on an all-time high.

Had I not been proactive, I would’ve been approaching Dallas about the time I was leaving the stage and would’ve missed out on an incredible opportunity.

There was a time in my life when I would have just sat at that airport on stand-by waiting on the next available flight.

The expression “good things come to those who wait” is about patience, but sometimes waiting is not in our best interest at all.

So don’t just sit there; do something!

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, and soldier. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.comFor more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

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