Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lost wallets do return

In my first post I referenced a lost purse and a $600 expenditure just to get to a city to which I already had a ticket....

It all started on Thursday. As per typical, I was running late from moment one, due to traffic on the backroads I would have taken into the city from where I work. I found an alternate route and arrived to pick up my friend JS from the southland appx. 15 min. late. She infomed me that when she had tried to check-in online, it had not let her. I brushed this comment aside, instead choosing to drive in the wrong direction until she corrected me and we headed a mere 20 min. later than original estimates back towards the airport.

Let me make the following things clear. 1. It is not JS's fault we were late. 2. Sometimes I forget how to get places even when I have lived there for years. 3. The majority of streets in the southland are one way.

So after a mini-detour, we were speeding down to the airport and trying to find Expresspark, the parking lot of choice for many of our friends. Recognizing our now narrowing time window and our general lack of directions on the location of Expresspark, we proceeded to head to Economy parking. For those of you also finding yourself in unlucky situations, you will recognize that in lives like ours, if you are a teeny bit late, it is inevitable that there will be a detour or car accident to make you moderately late. If you are moderately late and trying to fly out of town, the parking lots will be full and send you to a satellite lot where the bus will pass you without explanation and you will now find yourself significantly late.

Significantly late means we were to fly at 3:20, board at 3, and therefore be thru security at 2:50. We are a fifteen to twenty minute ride away at this point and it is 2:18. We have not checked in for our flight. Panic begins to creep up my spine but eternal optimist that I am when it comes to impending doom, I ignore it and merrily chatter away to JS about the people we find ourselves waiting with.

Arriving at check-in, because we are significantly late, karma reveals that the line is actually COMPLETELY full to the start of the human fencing maze. JS, also suffering in the past from some horrific travel luck, points out the curbside check-in. A nice man checks us in and hands us papers that say, "Please report to gate and speak to first available agent."

We should have known then, but continuing with our glass half full, we will make it, maybe they want to upgrade us to first class mindset, we head thru security. For our first break in the travel game of death, the line at security isn't too bad. Too bad the line at the gate desk is.

2:46. I know it is 2:46 when we arrived because I texted the co-poster to this site about the fact that we had just heard that everyone in line ahead of us (over 31 people) was also bumped from the flight.

A mere 2 hours later, an irate JS and myself learned the sob stories of others in line: the family who's son, an 8 year old, was booked thru with a seat but the parents were not; the man who's daughter is getting married in the morning; the woman from Rhode Island who's flight to RI had been cancelled at 1PM and she was trying to get a seat on the next flight out, and so on....

Playing bad cop, good cop on the "customer service" aka "I didn't do this and there's nothing I can do to help you" supervisor, we determined that Southwest could get us to Orlando in time to see the end of the game we were to play in THE NEXT DAY. In line, 4 phone calls to other airlines and a mere $250 got us a whole new ticket with United.

We were also awarded $158 refund for our outbound Southwest flight and a $200 voucher bringing our grand total to $358 renumerated for our 2hr 15 minute heart attack and found ourselves with a mere 45 minutes to get to our new United flight.

We arrived at our United gate with relative little fanfare given our previous struggles, picking up SB on the way who happened to be on the same flight, made it thru another short security line, and we were on our way to Orlando.

Fast forward to Monday morning...

Everyone woke up, got into the car and remembered their things from the hotel. We found a gas station to fill up the rental car and despite incredibly poor signage, found the rental car return. We had plenty of time. Enough in fact, to check luggage instead of carrying it all on, to find Starbucks, to purchase a breakfast sandwich and eat it before the first boarding call was sounded. The flight was relatively enjoyable once I put the fear of God into the four year old who was kicking and dropping his tray table attached to my seat and he sat still long enough to fall asleep. In fact, when our bags all arrived within minutes of each other thru bag claim, I thought, "Maybe our bad travel luck was a fluke." JS commented that GR, another friend who was on our return flight must balance us out.

And then the economy parking return bus took 30 minutes to arrive. JS, always ready to call for information, was informed that the 10 minute bus window was in fact an estimate. (Note to PHL: Please don't lie to people. Tell them the bus could be as much as 30 minutes. We will be nicer when we call for information.)

Our creepy bus driver who was more than a little deaf finally dropped us off in the far east known as Satellite Parking and I reached into my pocket for my keys and wallet and.....

No wristlet. None. Not anywhere. Not when we searched my carry-on. Not when I emptied my pockets. Not when i called Orlando airport and Au Bon Pain and Southwest and Southwest Philadelphia. Nothing.

So I closed all my credit cards when I got home. And cried. $358 in the form of a travel voucher, gone. My wicked witch of the east business card holder gone. My drivers license with the photo of me looking like I have no hair due to an unfortunate choice of headband on picture day, gone.

Which brings me to yesterday when contemplating my lost wallet, I decided enough was enough. I was starting this blog to change my fate. So I did. And with my spare credit card which I keep seperate from my others due to the unlucky nature of my life and the fact that it is almost inevitable that wallets will go missing/be stolen/fall into sewer grates (all have happened in the past), I went shopping.

When I left the store, I noticed a voicemail. On the bus, I dialed the 1, entered my code and listened to a slightly confusing message that said....

WE HAVE FOUND YOUR WALLET AND CALL SOUTHWEST IN PHL TO RETRIEVE IT!

So I did. $358 in the form of a travel voucher, there. My wicked witch of the east business card holder, there. My drivers license with the photo of me looking like I have no hair due to an unfortunate choice of headband on picture day, there.

So long story short, my good readers, this blog is already starting to reverse my fortune.

And always keep a spare credit card in case things get stolen/lost/dropped in a sewer grate.

1 comment:

JennN said...

good lord maggie, you've already written your book... however I would like to let you know that I informed JS that choosing to travel with you is a risk.. however one she didn't seem to mind... given her bad luck. Wear a shamrock or something... i don't know - maybe go to a priest and get cleansed.... thank lord the wallet was returned!!!