Letters and Fetters

Letters and Fetters

Sunday, January 9, 2011

RJ's Flight Adventure

   RJ was supposed to depart at 6am, but his flight was an hour and a half late because, according to someone at the airport, the ice sensor was malfunctioning, and when it's four below, you want the ice sensor to function.
   During the entire delay, I looked at the weather map and saw an incredible band of snow just to the west of Aberdeen moving toward the city. The funny thing was, every time it approached, the part near Aberdeen would dissolve and reform to the west again. It did this for an hour and a half at least.
   I found RJ's missing wooden recorder under the couch cushion in the meantime, and Art said he'd come back and bring it to RJ if he still could. The TSA guys said no problem. They'd make sure he got it. And they did.
   I tried to bring up the Delta flight status to see if the flight had left, every ten minutes or so, but the Delta site was down. I wondered if a computer glitch was part of the problem.
  Delta deplaned RJ and the other passengers and RJ started corresponding on his laptop through facebook. There, I learned that they had called a mechanic.
   We did not hear again from RJ for many hours. We determined that he had about 20 minutes to make it from the gate at Minneapolis to the gate departing for Atlanta. RJ has only flown once by himself before and I wondered if he'd be able to navigate the airport in time.
   How would he find the tram? Could he possibly make it? Would he ask for help? It seemed so unlikely. But we did not receive a call of distress or any other hint that he had missed his connection.
   Finally the Delta site came up, and the very first screen contained an advisory about anyone "traveling to, from or through Atlanta." You could sum up the message as: Don't even think about it. Winter weather has arrived!
   On the weather map a giant pink splotch representing ice was heading north and east toward Atlanta. Again, it was almost to Atlanta at the time the Minneapolis flight arrived and it stayed there until the flight from Atlanta to Richmond took off.
   Again, no call from RJ, no way to know if he'd made it or not. We knew that there was only paid access to the Internet at the airport in Minneapolis and probably in Atlanta, too. He'd left his phone at school.
   Finally, an hour after RJ was supposed to arrive in Richmond, we called Robert and found that he'd picked up RJ and was on his way home. I talked to RJ and discovered that, yes, he'd had to run in Minneapolis, but he found another family from Aberdeen headed for the same gate, and they knew the quickest way to the gate. He went with them and made it on time. He beat the snow, beat the ice, overcame the short window of time at MSP and made it.
  I'm thankful our church was praying for him this morning.

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