The Greatest American Hero
Well, my vacation started with a bit of a bang.
We are currently in BC and were able to get there thanks to the good folks at West Jet. I looked forward to my flight because I haven't been on West Jet since they've changed things a bit. They now have wonderfully comfortable leather seats and TVs for every person (with 24 channels of satellite TV and 4 movie channels for all to enjoy).
However, there was a bit of a speed bump to our trip. First, we thought that weather would definitely be a problem. I don't think it's stopped snowing in Winnipeg since December 1st. It just keeps snowing. So, with snow falling and some wind going, that was bound to set us back at least a bit. No problem...
Then, about an hour before we were supposed to be in the plane that was taking off, there was some commotion amongst the flight crew. It was a few minutes before any announcement was made, but when the guy at the counter begins with "I don't think you're going to like this...", you can usually expect something that's more than a slight setback.
As it turns out, one of the West Jet planes was in Thunder Bay and got hit by lightning (the ironing is delicious...sorry, Simpsons joke). But, for reasons that sounded like they would be hard to convince us of, the West Jet operations office decided it would be best if the plane that was supposed to carry us to Vancouver would instead be sent straight to Thunder Bay. It was then explained to us that what this would mean is that we would have to go back out into the Terminal, retrieve our luggage, check back in, and wait 4 hours for the flight that we wanted.
To be honest, I was less than concerned. I really didn't think this was going to be a big deal. As anyone knows, when airlines do this kind of thing you usually get something for free. However, a gaggle of passengers didn't feel quite so care-free about the whole thing.
While the announcement was still being made, someone started to raise his voice with all kinds of pointless questions. "Why our plane? Can't you do something else? Where is my brain?!" This after the guy at the counter already informed us that he really didn't know anymore useful information and if we had any questions to please save them for the agents at the check-in counter. He mentioned this several times. Still, a gang of would-be passengers gathered in a circle around the counter guy and began shouting other questions at him, demanding someone in higher authority who would tell them more and so forth...as if this would accomplish anything aside from establishing that people who throw tantrums get rewarded.
Yes, it was an inconvenience. It would be a pain to retrieve our luggage and go through security again (the first go round already left me with a concern for having to take off my pants just to demonstrate that I was a simple harmless passenger). However, I guess I'm far too bold in thinking that inconvenience is the least painful thing in the world, since it just means that we will get what we came for but only not when we came for it. Then, my wife sensed I was going to cause trouble...
I got up, but my carry-on bag down on my seat and stepped toward the crowd. I made sure I waited for the right time. Just as the lead mob henchman said something to the effect of "Why don't you send up someone in higher authority to tell us more," I chimed in with "If you don't settle down, they might send someone up here to take you away!" Yes, that's what I said. And, it achieved the effect I was hoping for in the person that it was aimed at. He immediately backed down and gave this thing just a little thought. But another immediately took offense that I should dare to use logical thought. I believe some semblance of his words would be "Hey, why don't you pipe down?! You don't need to be a hero! What are you some frickin American?!" Yes, he actually said that (ask my wife if you don't believe that this is how it went down).
I wasn't terribly surprised about that last comment. There is more than a large share of America-hating among Canadian citizens. For most it's to the point where anything that has potentially negative connotations has American associations. Prejudice masked as patriotism is a topic for another rant. However, in the heat of the moment I responded with the less than intelligent "What are you some sort of fricking idiot?" Then a girl comes out and says "Excuse me!" She was looking at Mr. Canada when she said it, and I had no idea why. Turns out she is an American.
I was then confronted by another person on my way to picking up our baggage. He said, "Excuse me but we have a right to free speech and, especially when one of these corporations is concerned..." That's where I interrupted his diatribe to state my side a little more calmly (and with futility of course). It ended up with him telling me some sob story about how he hasn't seen his daughter in 9 months, so naturally 4 more hours would be the end of the world.
And that was the beginning of our vacation. I began by being dubbed the "Greatest American Hero" (and sitting on the aisle one row away from the person who called me an American). However, I did happen across the member of the flight crew that I tried to help out. He was grateful, and very happy that someone made the effort. I'm certainly no hero (and not American...that wouldn't be so bad though), but at least I managed to help someone at least partially avoid several people making him miserable just because they were. And I managed to embarass my wife as well, even though she thought I was right. My job here is done.
To infinity, and beyond!