Wednesday, 10 March 2010

On Human Kindness

I don't read or watch the news every day. Too much emphasis and top stories about war, hate, violence, and other bad stuff. A step outside into the "real" world time and again gives me a perspective I much prefer. A little example from yesterday:

My travel itinerary was a car ride from Lucerne to Zurich, flight from Zurich to Frankfurt, flight from Frankfurt to Washington DC, flight from Washington DC to Seattle. The first 2 steps went off without a hitch. In Frankfurt we deplaned onto the tarmac and caught a shuttle bus to the terminal where I went down various hallways, several flights of stairs, and was halfway down a "disappearing into the horizon" moving walkway when I realized I didn't have my purse. Yes, the purse with my passport, money, credit cards, phone, boarding passes, etc. I swung a leg over the handrail, jumped off the moving walkway (long legs come in handy at times like this), and headed back the way I had come but didn't REALLY know where I had come from. I found the Lufthansa gates and was told I needed to go to lost and found. Funny thing is - lost and found wasn't easy to find - ironic? yes, I think so. I eventually found Lufthansa's Baggage Tracing desk. I had kept it together pretty well until then but after getting out that I had left my purse on the plane or the shuttle bus I could no longer speak without the threat of a full tearful breakdown. The lovely Lufthansa agent asked which flight I'd been on and I couldn't remember the number - just that I had come from Zurich. A nice man behind me stepped up with his boarding pass from the same flight and asked if that had been the one - yes, thanks! Then she wanted my name but I couldn't spit it out. "Just write it down" she urged pushing a pad and pen towards me. Then she said she needed to go to another location to make some phone calls and for me to wait. I was there about 20 minutes trying to stay calm as the time for my connecting flight got ever closer. I was wondering just what one does in a foreign country with no ID and no money - would I need to get to the American Embassy? have Robin come from Lucerne to bail me out? live at the airport ala Tom Hanks in Terminal? When the Lufthansa agent returned she told me she was waiting to hear back from several areas and that I should go to my connecting flight gate and if they found it they would send it there. I tried to return the way I had come but, as that would return me to a secured area I couldn't get in (I did try but set off an electronic warning). I realized I wouldn't be able to get to my gate without my ID and boarding pass so returned to the Baggage Tracing desk. The woman was on the phone and gestured to me to wait. A few minutes later she walked over and told me they had found my purse! I was SO relieved. She had to go get it and didn't know exactly where it was so I was again instructed to wait there. Another 20 minutes or so and she was back with my purse. I had missed my connecting flight so she instructed me to go to rebooking. At the rebooking desk I explained what had happened and at first the agent told me she couldn't do anything for me. Apparently a flight booked with miles and missed due to your own stupidity doesn't qualify for rebooking (makes sense but wasn't what I wanted to hear). She then started looking closer and said the original itinerary was one that probably shouldn't have been booked in the first place as the connection time was too close - and my incoming flight had been a few minutes late - so she decided to rebook me anyway! I was so grateful! I ended up with a better itinerary on Air Canada through Calgary on a half-empty plane.

Whew - too much drama! But mostly alleviated due to the kindness and honesty of total strangers. That's the kind of news I'd like to read about more often.


Des said...

You poor thing. I am so glad it all worked out and of course welcome home. (ps we have done something where we want to kick ourself)

Rando Rider said...

Oh my ... glad it all ended well !