My account of my trip to Washington, D.C. in which we were stranded in Minneapolis.
|When I was in seventh grade, I went on a school trip to Washington, D.C. And it was probably one of the best trips of my life, hands down. For me, being thirteen years old and getting to jet half way across the country, with no parents, for a whole week, was the greatest thing ever. And probably the best part was that all the kids from my school, which was a grand total of four, and our sponsor, Mrs. Dickens, got the whole first day in D.C. to ourselves because the flight that was taking the group from the other school was canceled. They couldn’t get another flight until the next day. So, my group and I were whisked away to the nation’s capital for fun and merriment while the other group was forced to camp out in the airport with the other refugees.
Well… I guess I should have known that karma would catch up to us. By the time we were sitting in the plane at the D.C. airport waiting to come home, it finally did. We had been waiting to take off for half an hour maybe, when the flight attendant comes on the loudspeaker and says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re sorry to inform you that the plane may be having some slight mechanical difficulties. We’re going to have to de-board now until further notice.” So, in other words, “GET OFF THE PLANE, IT’S GONNA BLOW.”
So the de-boarding process begins. Of course, the first people allowed to get off are the “Platinum Flight Club” members. Then the regular Flight Club members. Then First Class, and finally Business Class, which is of course where we’re sitting. And the whole time I’m thinking, “Did they learn NOTHING from watching Titanic?! Whatever happened to women and children first? ARE THERE ENOUGH LIFE-VESTS?”
But, miraculously, the plane doesn’t blow up, and four fun-filled hours later we’re allowed back on. And by this point, I’m not even really sure that I want to fly in an airplane that was broken four hours ago. Seriously, how do you fix a plane in four hours? Duct tape? So, I’m understandably a little bit leery about this whole endeavor. And to make matters worse, I call my mom and she’s all, “Where are you, what’s going on, what did you have for dinner, oh my gosh, the world is ending…” just blubbering, and I just say, “It’s okay, Mom, the plane was gonna blow up so we got off but now it’s fine and we’re getting back on.” And of course, she starts crying, and I start crying, and the guy that’s waiting in line for the pay-phone starts crying, and everything is a huge mess.
But, fortunately, we made it to Minneapolis in one piece. We got there about ten-thirty at night. Unfortunately, our plane from Minneapolis to Oklahoma City left at six.
I remember one of the girls in my group saying “Could this night get any worse?” By this time we were standing by the big conveyor belt, watching mounds of bags go by… none of them ours. So we waited. And waited. Aaaaaand waited. Finally an airport luggage dude came up to us and told us the luggage from our flight was, quote, “lost.” He handed us each a bag containing a toothbrush, those little travel-sized shampoos, and a Southwest Airlines T-shirt (that I promptly burned the minute I got home) and told us to get lost.
So, Mrs. Dickens took us to the only place you can go when you’re stranded. Holiday Inn. We got our rooms and brushed our teeth without toothpaste. We slept in our Southwest Airlines T-shirts and jeans. I wasn’t the most well-groomed or comfortable I’ve ever been in my life, but I survived.
The next day Mrs. Dickens figured out, with her travel/airplane/magic skills, that we could get a flight to Atlanta at seven thirty in the evening, and then on home. So until then, we were stuck at the Holiday Inn with nothing to amuse ourselves with but toothbrushes and TV guides. Until the only boy in our group found the pay-per-view and begged Mrs. Dickens to let us watch the movie 300, which is of course rated “R.” If you’ve ever seen 300 you know that it’s pretty much a blood bath of guys with six-packs wearing armor. It’s not exactly the type of movie that three 12-13 year old girls will enjoy. We liked movies about puppies. But we watched it anyway. And after we were done being emotionally traumatized by guys slicing each other’s heads off, we discovered that the hotel provided free shuttle service to the Mall of America. So we’re like, “What the heck, why are we sitting here?!” Of course, by this point in the trip our budget had literally been reduced to two dollars, but we all decided to go and walk around anyway.
I would say that it was the best part of the trip. Even though none of us had any money whatsoever and we all wandered around like homeless children, we had so much fun. We got lost so many times and we got on Mrs. Dickens’ last nerve, but by the time we got on the plane to Atlanta we were all in good spirits and had pretty much forgotten the abuses done to us by the airline industry. And when I got home, I didn’t rave about how much fun I had in Washington, D.C., I raved about how much fun I had running penniless around the Mall of America.
So I guess my point is: being stranded doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Even though we weren’t exactly where we wanted to be, we didn’t let it get us down. We had tons more fun than we would have if we had gotten home on time. So, yeah, karma smacked us in the face, but I like to say that we smacked it right back.