Luck. Now there's one of those words that personifies so many meanings to so many people. Whether luck is actually fate, destiny, coincidence, an old wive's tale, or plain old fashioned luck is for you to decide, but however you see it, one way or another we all seem to have some form of it. Granted, most seem to have coined their luck, "if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all," but hey, luck is all in the eye of the beholder. Normally, I'd say my luck is more along the lines of "the curse of the Bundys"-for all you non-Married With Children viewers, that's a connotation for not so great. However, I have to say that I must have been doin' something right in the past year, because the lucky break I just got was...to be honest with ya, words can't describe it.
It was January 13, and I had just finished packing, because at 7 a.m. the next day I was headed to the airport to catch a flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was going back to the Midwest to attend the Darryl Starbird 50th Annual Car Show in Wichita, Kansas, which was coming up the following weekend, but seeing as how he is my grandpa, I headed back a week early to help load trailers, haul cars, set up the show, and any other odd job. Anyways, after packing, I sat down to watch the Eagles and the Saints' playoff game. At halftime, I decided I'd better call my grandma just to remind her what time my brother and I got in the next day. When I dialed her number, it gave me one of them "all circuits are busy at this time" automated messages. With option number one out the door, I called my aunt who lives in Tulsa. Unlike my grandma, her lines weren't busy and she answered the phone. I told her that I tried calling Grandma, and that's when she fired back that my grandparents had been without power for two days! She also informed me that all flights coming in and going out of Tulsa had been shut down all day Saturday, and that they were supposed to get another ice storm late that night.
Upon hearing that news, I decided I'd better call the airlines to see what the story for tomorrow was. As I was telling the agent all my info for my Sunday the 14th flight, she was having a hard time finding my reservation, so I dug out my trusty old confirmation number. After my mouth mumbled that last digit, there was a moment of silence, and then all of a sudden it was as if someone had hit me with a racy picture of Rosie O'Donnell. In a hesitant and faint voice, the agent muttered the words, "Sir, your flight left this morning at 8." I couldn't believe it. I was mortified. I must have accidentally hit the little 13th calendar marker on the online flight reservation page instead of the 14th, and the worst part about it was that my brother was right there with me making the flights, and he didn't catch the mistake either! I immediately asked the agent, "What do I do?" That's when things got even worse, because I soon learned that United Airlines has the same policy as my old shop teacher, "lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine." She told me that since I didn't show up two hours after departure, my ticket was void, and my only option was to reschedule a departing flight and use my return flight. There would be a $100 rescheduling fee plus any additional fees. Long story short, the cheapest flight she could find came to the grand total of $880 apiece! I told her that wasn't in the cards and hung up.
At this point, I was absolutely speechless and literally felt like someone had sucked the life out of me. I called my aunt and told her the news, and then asked if I could get some standby tickets from my uncle who works at American Airlines, which she said would be fine. (If any of you have ever flown standby, it can either work out great or be a TOTAL disaster, but that's another story for another time.) But she also told me to call back the airline and ask if my ticket from Denver to Tulsa, which was my original connecting flight, was still good, because it definitely got canceled. So I jumped back on the phone hanging on to a wing and a prayer. I explained the situation and the agent responded with a simple, "Let me check it out." After a brief moment of silence and pain from every limb in my body, I got a monumental lucky break: The agent told me the flight was canceled alltogether from the start due to the bad weather, and I could reschedule my departure date with him at that moment for no additional fees! Normally, I would have been furious with the first lady for not knowing that info, but not today. For today, it was if the planets and stars and anything else out in the universe aligned for this series of unfortunate events to happen in the most peculiar form possible, yet still work out to my favor. I mean, how many times is one going to miss a flight altogether just to turn around and find out that exact flight was canceled due to bad weather? I can't even fathom the odds.
In the end, everything worked out B-E-A-utiful, even though my Sunday flight was canceled as well and it took us 45 minutes before we could board the plane due to a computer glitch. The only bad news is I think I used up all my luck for 2007. At least I can save myself the pain of waiting in line for the Lotto!