Oh the Places you’ll go… The People you’ll Meet

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    Hidden Agenda

    October 2014, second year of University, I got my hands on some cheap flights & decided (like that responsible teenager I was) that, instead of travelling back home from University for Thanksgiving holidays, that I would spontaneously fly to Alberta (without telling anyone) to see my boyfriend. Little did I know that this adventure would have a strange turn of events that would change my life forever. I hope that in reading this, you will see the beauty in this happenstance.

  • Teenage DirtBag

  • I packed my things, assured my parents I would be in London studying for the weekend and hopped on a public transit bus in hopes of making it to the London International Airport. I made it about 3/4 of the way before giving up on the LRT’s quality service & ended up cabbing the rest of the way. Long story short, I made my flight, had a very enjoyable weekend in Edmonton & also did get some studying done! #success

  • #Success!!… So I thought!

  • The reason my flights were so cheap likely had to do with the fact that I had a connecting flight in Calgary. I boarded my plane in Edmonton, everything well… just a girl with uncontrolled tears falling down her face and my Build-a-Bear Landon & I made, in my arms, heading back to school. I boarded my second plane in Calgary and talked a little while with a nice elderly couple who were seated beside me. Everything was good except… it was a quarter after departure time and we still hadn’t left the tarmac. Soon after realizing we were behind schedule, the Captain made an announcement that the plane was having some mechanical issues and they were having an engineer come and take a look to “ok” the plane for departure departure. Slightly concerned, another 20 minutes had passed and the Captain announced that we could be doing a “Tail Switch” as the engineer made the call that the plane we had all boarded on was not safe to fly. So off the plane we went and to the next gate we would wait…

  • One Eternity Later..

  • It was way past midnight at this point, I was quite exhausted and dreading the fact that I had class at 8am… when finally another announcement was made. My flight from Calgary to London that evening had been cancelled. WestJet had decided that their crew would be over their flight hours for the day and they did not have another crew to replace them at that time. We were instructed to collect our baggage and to wait in line at the WestJet Kiosk for vouchers.

  • Uhh… Calgary??

  • I knew nothing about Calgary, knew no one there and had no idea how cancelled flights worked besides being stuck in an airport sleeping on chairs all night. I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t so worried about missing class the next day, but more the fact that I was in a City that I was unfamiliar with… and I couldn’t tell anyone because I failed to mention my little adventure to my parents.

  • Make Allies

  • While waiting in line at the kiosk, there was a lady in front of me and a man behind me. We had made little jokes and comments as we waited and I felt comfortable asking them if instead of all three of us taking separate cabs to the hotel we were being put in, if we could all cab together. Given the circumstances, I felt like this would make me feel more comfortable and not so alone as I would be sharing the experience with two others. These two were very friendly, agreed with me and asked me to make the call for the cab for all three of us for the next morning when we would catch our flight. Upon arrival to the hotel, I headed straight to bed exhausted, but actually happy the flight was cancelled so I could sleep before getting back to London. The morning I woke up, I had made the call for the cab and discovered that Illia and Brian had actually gotten to know each other a little better and had enjoyed some Nachos at the Denny’s next door. They shared their laugher and experience with me and we decided that when we got to the airport, we would use our vouchers to eat together. Lucky for us, the airline had accidentally given both Brian and Illia a $30.00 food voucher instead of the allotted $15.00, so all together we had $75.00 to spend on breakfast. Three complete strangers, dining and talking as if we had always known each other. We were enjoying our brunch so much we even almost missed our flight because we failed to hear our final boarding call. A flight attendant located us in the restaurant and rushed us onto our plane. She wasn’t too happy with us but we all had a laugh.

  • On Route

  • Everything went smoothly after our crazy adventure and I was placed beside new people on the plane, I met a woman who was going to London to visit her son who was attending the same University as me. She explained to me a little bit of her story and her experience in school and why she decided to drop out when she was in it. She shared with me the successes and losses in her life and I truly got to know her as much as strangers can in 4 hours. At this point, I had met and gotten to know 7+ people on this flight who had all themselves, met at least 7 others on the same flight. When we landed the flight attendants thanked us for our patience and commented that we were the most “harmonious flight” that they had ever served. They told us that it had felt that everyone had become family and took care of each other through out.

  • Wow! What an Experience…

  • Upon arrival to London, Brian had a rental car booked and out of nothing but pure kindness and generousity offered myself and Illia a ride to our destinations in Ontario. Brian drove me all the way to my house in London, right to my doorstep and our goodbye included a hug from not only him, but Illia too. I could not believe this entire experience. These people did not know each other, they did not know me, they did not owe me anything. This was all happening because I made a choice to smile and ASK for their friendship.

  • To this day

  • To this day, I am still in contact with them both. Thanks to Facebook I will get the odd comment or message from them. We have no mutual friends…  we are just simply a handful of people who let kindness and the goodness of humanity take the reins for an evening,

  • It’s a Small World

  • So continuing on with my life… dropping out of University, moving to Alberta, working full time at the YMCA, about a year later.. I was guarding the pool in North Edmonton when I glanced up to the fitness centre and thought I saw a familiar face. It was him. The friendly stranger who had dropped me off and hugged me at my door step in London, Ontario. What are the chances??  Of course I went upstairs and said hello and asked him how he was doing while embracing the essence of fate and the way life just seems to work out as it does.

  • In a Nut Shell

    • A smile and one conversation can go a long way… honestly- that is all it took to spark this beautiful outcome of a story
    • It’s a small world, so be kind- don’t think you can just treat people however you want to and forget about it… because you actually just might see them again.. anywhere
    • Take risks and learn from them… GAIN from them- I made a shitty flight cancellation into a social adventure, you bet I sucked as much knowledge out of this experience as I could
    • Learn from the people you meet- everyone has a story, everyone can offer you a perspective, an insight, more knowledge… ITS FREE. I learned so much from the life experiences these two had to share and why they were in my presence, on the same plane at the exact moment I was… looking back the entire experience felt magical.
    • Network! -not only is this a way to meet and learn from new people but this is also a skill that I have found to be so useful in the workplace and other aspects of life, being successful is about knowing how to network well, it will take you places, trust!
    • Don’t be afraid of the world- It’s quite often (and sometimes for good reason) that we are told not to talk to strangers, to be cautious. I could have kept my mouth shut and chose not to trust these two people… but I did and it was OH SO WORTH IT. The world and the people in it are not all bad, I am happy to have these stories to share with others

  • I hope you open yourself up to allow such an experience in your life because this is a story that I will always have burned into my memory and I will never know what meeting these people will do for me over the next 60+ years of my life… You really never know, that’s the beauty of it. Thanks for reading!
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