I missed my flight this morning. First time its ever happened to me. I took the 407 – a toll highway – to insure that I was at the airport in time. I wasn’t even running behind, I just wanted to take what is normally a “stress free” drive. I would have arrived at least an hour ahead – but as soon as I got on the highway I saw it was backed up – an accident. I was confused. I just listened to a traffic report – it means the accident must just have happened.
Fortunately the traffic wasn’t at a stand still, it was moving – though very slowly… but I still had hope.
When I made it to the check in counter they sent me to the express lane. I thought I was good. But the express lane was taking too long even though there was only one person in front of me!
Then I received the news: “We can’t put you on this flight.”
“The next flight is five hours later and it will cost you $150.”
I made a last ditch effort to try and make my flight – I still had 35 minutes before take off – but because I had luggage, she wouldn’t let me do it.
I took out the credit card and paid the fee.
As I did so, I was reminded of a story I’d heard from a man who inspired me.
It comes from Keith Harrell – author of Attitude is Everything. Harrell was an author and a motivational speaker, and he is someone I studied when I got into the speaking business.
One time his flight was delayed and he was in line to get another flight. As he waited he could hear people in a similar position venting their frustrations to the attendants at the counter. One person was yelling, screaming, and cursing at the attendant. She was calm in her response, repeating “I’m sorry sir, that’s the best we can do.”
When it was Harrell’s turn, he was informed that the next fllight was several hours away.
“Super fantastic!” He replied. The attendant was confused. “I said, I’m sorry sir, but the next flight won’t be for several hours.”
“Super fantastic!” – which is Harrell’s trademark saying.
He knew he didn’t have a choice, so he decided to be positive.
His message – We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our attitude and how we respond…
Truth is, I don’t mind spending time at an airport. I have a laptop and I have an internet connection. I’m able to send emails, write, blog, plan, etc.
The other thing I said to myself is… “I wonder who I might run into?”
You realize how small of a world it is when you are at an airport.
Sometimes I will see someone I know – usually someone I haven’t seen in a long time… I remember as a teenager running into my childhood neighbour. Nowadays I run into musicians that are on flights heading to a show.
An hour into my delay I ran into a friend’s ex-girlfriend. Hadn’t seen her for ten years.
I checked into an airport lounge – one of the best things I’ve discovered about airports – so now I’m enjoying a buffet, endless supply of coffee and juice, while typing this on the comfort of a desk.
Sure I could be upset that I missed my flight, but I’m grateful it happened on a day such as today where I didn’t have any appointments that I would have to reschedule. It is just a slight inconvenience.
A few months ago I did a Google search on Keith Harrell to see what he had been up to. I was saddened to see that he had passed away. He was young – only 54. He died of cancer.
While Keith is no longer here, his message lives on…
Attitude is Everything.