It has been an unbelievable experience for him, all he wanted to do was visit his Mom in Florida after her mastectomy. Jim has his own disabilities, but he knew he has to do this. He left right before Thanksgiving, our first attempt failed, he missed the flight when he woke up late, had to stop for gum drops, got to the airport with only a few minutes to spare and I promptly locked the car with the car still running and of course the keys in the ignition. I turned to Jim for his set and the dreaded, words came out, "I didn't bring them". One sheriff later, who refused my begging and pleading to shoot the window out or the lock on the door called a locksmith and $60.00 later, the car was unlocked. I was running with his luggage, Jim had checked in already to speed the process, was in line, had his shoes off, being searched and the sound of the plane taking off without him almost brought me to tears.
We spent the one and one half hour drive home trying to decide who to blame.
So the next day the flight left even earlier and I had to go to work, so up at the unreasonable hour of 3 in the morning we left. Smooth sailing, couldn't believe it, the hardest part was making it thru work after being up that long. I did carry an extra key in my pocket after that.
So Jim spent his month in Florida and was ready to come home this weekend. Spent the money to change the flight, his brother was to take him at a reasonable hour, all the disability assistance had been set up, someone to meet him and take him in a wheelchair to each gate. So Jim and his brother get to the Orlando airport and his brother drops him off at the curb, with his baggage, no assistance, left him there, didn't wait to see if he was helped inside. Just drove on home. Jim missed the
plane. Had no where to go, as if he could get there if he wanted, finally was taken by a supervisor who rented a car for him and he drove back to his Mom's house in Melbourne, about an hour away. The airplane service was kind enough to change the flight without charging him.
Another try yesterday. Had to leave Melbourne and get to Orlando by midafternoon, recieved a call from his Mom that he was in Orlando and lost, standing at a pay phone in some neightborhood talking to his Mom at a payphone, don't know why he doesn't carry a cell phone, but he doesn't, anyway, while he's talking, two men run up and rob everything that is in the front seat, didn't get his bag or wallet and thank goodness they didn't have any guns. He tells his Mom he's coming back to Melbourne, an hour away. We don't hear a thing for hours, hours, not a word. So not knowing which rental agency he had used, I started calling everyone and of course the last one on the list and there are many, there is his name, but he is overdo. I leave an urgent message to call me. I wait, and wait for the phone to ring. An hour later, he calls, he found the airport and they are rushing him in a wheelchair to the gate.
I don't hear from him again, so I drive to Bozeman at ten o'clock at night, dark and freezing, praying he's on the plane. When I get to the airport, the board says all planes are on time, an hour later, still no plane, and the board says all planes have arrived, a man went for me to the counter because I was sure I was going to have a heartache from the stress to tell them they were still missing a plane. "Oh, the clerk says, the board is incorrect, that flight has been delayed." Mechanical difficulities which really meant they were overbooked and if it hadn't been for the kindness of a stranger who flies that route all the time told them Jim was too sick not to make that flight or Jim would still be in Salt Lake City, so this stranger helped him the rest of the flight and he finally arrived at one in the morning. Oh, the kindness of strangers after such an awful day. That's the spirit of Christmas.