Krafty Pops A Wheelie
My wife, the lovely and aeronautically savvy, Dawn, and I have just returned from another excursion to Texas AKA The Surface of the Sun. When the temperature would hit 95 degrees people started saying, Oh, good. It’s beginning to cool off.”
We were ready to fly home as soon as we dropped off our rental car – a Kia “Soul.” (BTW – it is a Kia “Soul” not “Sole” because nobody with soles or feet would ever fit into the back seat. Double amputees only could ride there.)
Our scheduled flight from Corpus Christi to Houston was delayed for more than an hour by bad weather in New Orleans. Once it arrived we had a quick 35 minute hop to Houston, but our once planned 75 minute layover there was now reduced to ten minutes. Uh, Oh.
We landed at Gate 25 and our plane to Indy was sitting at Gate 51. In Houston that is a distance similar to that of the Earth to the Moon. Big Uh, Oh.
This is where the “Life Hack” comes into play.
When we fly I always try to get “Early Boarding” or “Advanced Boarding” because I am a slow moving old geezer. On long walks moss grows on my north side. When we saw that we were going to be shaving things close in Houston, Dawn tore into action. I kept my mouth shut and shifted into “Gimp Limp Mode.”
We galumphed up to the Service counter and Dawn asked the agent if we could be met by a wheelchair in Houston to get us to our connecting flight?
“Of course. No problem. Do you need a wheelchair right now as well?” said the perky Southwest Agent.
“No, we’re cool.” I almost blew it with that.
35 minutes later we touched down in Houston and right there at the door of the plane was my wheelchair and a beefy little guy named “Gupta” ready to roll. I dropped my carcass into the chair and off we went at Warp Factor Two through the long concourses of the Houston Airport. Dawn had trouble keeping up with us. I was secretly wishing that the wheelchair had been equipped with seat belts. I thought I was going to be ejected when Gupta took a couple of sharp turns.
When Gupta and I arrived at Gate 51 the door was already closed. I thought we had blown it, but the agent at the desk said, “No problemo.” Two minutes later Dawn arrived seriously out of breath. The agent got on his walkie-talkie and Presto! The jetway door opened up. I bade farewell to Gupta, gave him a fiver, and Dawn and I got onto the plane. We were the last two passengers and we got a few dirty looks as we searched for a couple of seats. The plane had been held for about ten minutes because of us – No, because of me.
Let me explain how this all worked the way it did.
Ok, Ok, I admit that we kinda, sorta, stretched things a bit. Dawn used her best “Wife beset” voice and I’m a trained actor. Between the two of us we made it from Houston to Indy on time. Too bad our luggage didn’t. Our bags spent the night in Houston. Maybe if Gupta had a friend with another wheelchair handy the bags might have made it. The luggage arrived on our door the next day delivered by Southwest Airlines with a written apology.
Do I feel bad about our little airport ploy? Not really. After all, we have had to spend the night in Houston and in Dallas several times because of Southwest Airlines. I figure we are even now.