I was to visit a benefactor of mine who provided a scholarship that damn near assumed half the cost of my full college tuition on Friday. The organization NACME provided the air transportation from Kennedy International (JFK) to Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) Airport and would pick me and the other scholarship recipients (past and present) up to travel to the home in McLean, Virginia by van. All those plans for me were dashed as the night before, my car's window regulator broke, leaving my window partially open. I couldn't leave my window in such a state over the weekend, much less during the day when I was in another state, so I took the car to the mechanic before I went to the airport.
I must admit that I had trouble waking up in time to comfortably make it to the airport for my flight, scheduled for 12:15PM. I work nights and must balance sleep and after-work activity. I did hope that I could squeeze in as I had no luggage and only a Zune and cellular phone to pass through the x-ray scanner. Unfortunately, I arrived at the check-in line at 11:55AM, putting me in front of a representative at about 12:03PM. Our conversation went something like this:
Delta Rep: "Hello, there!"
Delta Rep: "Where are you going?"
Me: "Going to Washington, D.C. ..."
Delta Rep looks at the Itinerary for a second
Delta Rep: "No you're not."
Delta Rep: "This flight has already boarded."
Me: "It's boarding?"
Delta Rep: "It's boarded."
I panicked for about 0.09135 seconds, then thought: "Well, I'll get there somehow. It will be a bit late, but I'll get there!" We managed to work out an alternate flight for no extra charge to Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport, leaving at 12:45PM and arriving at 2:00PM. It seemingly worked out for me because I was to land in DCA at 1:45PM and the Delta rep told me BWI was the closest airport, "not too far away from Reagan." The next flight to DCA was at 3:50PM which would land me at the time I'd have to be flying back. I promptly contacted the guy who was to pick us up at DCA but he didn't pick up; I left a voicemail during one of the six or seven hastily re-dialed attempts.
I decided that I wouldn't miss this substitute flight and just manage when I get to BWI. The flight was 40 minutes long - I couldn't even finish an Iron Maiden album (Somewhere in Time) before we touched down. I even thought they turned around and went back to JFK! After landing, I got in touch with him and determined that BWI was, in fact, too far from DCA to pick me up and make it to Virginia on time for the event. the solution was to get a van from BWI to take me to McLean. I never thought I'd be doing such interstate traveling but I just had to make it. Found a SuperShuttle, plopped fitty-five on the ol' CC and waited 20 minutes for it to arrive. An hour and 40 minutes and two passenger drop-offs later, I arrived in McLean.
During those 100 minutes I enjoyed the "sites" of Washington, D.C. - the street traffic, crazy cell-phone using drivers and long, narrow highways. I saw on one highway that there was a divider on which a train passed over; very cool! I also took a nap as I had very little sleep the morning of this trip. I was called several times to give updates on my trip; I felt really bad about being late and really thought that I was being a nuisance as a result of being in this circumstance. They at the home took it very well and were eagerly expecting me to arrive before the event ended.
When I arrived, there were two elderly ladies who had been on the van for longer than I (almost 3 hours) who commented that I had "rich friends." I let them know that they helped me get through college and promptly exited the van. I was pleasantly met at the door and finally united with my peers and members of the NACME team! (cue Final Fantasy battle fanfare music here)
I downed a hefty glass of merlot, discussed details of my trip and caught up with everyone while taking pictures. I felt kind of special when I arrived because of the very positive reaction to my appearance, and I thank everyone for their kindness. 20 minutes later, it was all over. We returned to DCA and flew back home (1 hour flight - seemed like 10 minutes).
Overall, I enjoyed my day and didn't really mind spending the extra money to get there. It was completely worth it. I enjoyed talking with everyone and had a great time!