Monthly Archives: September 2015

Unnecessary Goldfish Bribes: The Kindness of a Stranger

This past weekend I traveled with FH to Chicago to watch my best friend get married. I was very excited to celebrate with her – especially because I initially did not think we would be able to make the wedding. It’s not cheap to fly somewhere, but thanks to the assistance of a guy at the airline, the tickets were going to cost us $200 total for both of us round trip. TOTAL! This awesome deal led to FH agreeing that we could attend their wedding. Yay!

All last week I went through and mentally planned out the trip – what our timeline would be, what needed to be packed, what we would do with the cats, and who would be watching the puppy. Ranger got to go on vacation too and spent the weekend with my brother, his wife, and my three adorable and energetic nieces. Ranger is still exhausted. Since we were only going to be gone for a little over a day, and cats are pretty low-maintenance, we decided to give them extra food and a few extra bowls of water. We had a pretty good grasp of how the weekend was going to play out and what we would be able to do during the trip, so the timeline was under control. The only thing left was to pack all our stuff so we could catch our flight the next day.

Well… we didn’t end up packing the night before. Our flight being at 1:30pm, I let myself talk myself into not packing on Thursday. So we woke up on Friday and I was rushing from room to room, trying to deal with that AWESOME trait that I inherited from Dad where I feel physically ill at the thought of leaving the house for an extended period of time. (Thanks Dad). We got everything packed up and managed to leave the house on time with only two bags, one to check and one carry on. Traffic wasn’t bad, we got there with plenty of time to spare, and we got in line. And waited. And waited… and waited. And even though we got there and were physically standing at the airport an hour before our flight, we didn’t get checked in until 40 minutes before. And you need to have 45 minutes to check a bag apparently. I have never heard this rule before, it wasn’t listed on their website, and it wasn’t like we weren’t there… we just were stuck waiting for 20+ minutes because there were two people working the desk and one of them was stuck sorting out some issue with someone else.

So we started off our trip a little annoyed. The lady told us that we couldn’t get on our flight with our bag and that we would have to wait for the next one. It was only an hour wait, which wasn’t too bad… but because we had to switch flights we were all the way in the back of the plane and we wouldn’t be sitting together! I know it’s not a long flight, but I was very unhappy at the prospect of sitting with strangers, especially because I’m not the best flyer, particularly during takeoff and landing. I like to clutch someone’s hand, and I feel like strangers rarely are okay with that. We were told there wasn’t anything to do but ask people to trade seats. Awesome.

We found our gate and discussed what we should do and the option of bribing someone came up. We realized we actually had many items to barter with – apple slices, goldfish crackers, and even tiny bottles of alcohol (yup, you can get those through security as long as they are less than 3.4oz under a certain proof, and can fit in a clear quart-size bag) – so we went into the situation feeling like a seat change was quite possible. Once our plane started boarding I began asking different people around us if they were in aisle 32. We found one guy that was, but he was on the ABC side and we were on the EFG side. He told us that the goldfish crackers would work on him, but again, there wasn’t much point switching with him.

It was beginning to look like we actually would be stuck sitting apart. Then we get down to our row and the guy I was going to be sitting next to was already in the seat. So I ask him if he would mind trading seats with my fiancé so that we could sit together. And he asked if FH had a window seat. We looked at our tickets and our hearts sank. We both had middle seats. Who would option for a middle seat when they have a window?? I explained to the guy that no, FH’s seat was a middle seat… but that we could offer him some alcohol, goldfish crackers, or apple slices if that could persuade him. I gave him my very best pity-me-because-we’re-not-sitting-together-but-I’m-a-nice-person-and-maybe-you-could-be-nice-too smile. And shockingly, this stranger agreed to trade seats with us. He ended up refusing all my bribes. I thanked him profusely, and I think he was actually a little embarrassed about it, but it is so rare that people are NICE. The goldfish bribe ended up being unnecessary; it was just the kindness of a stranger that helped us out on Friday. So, on the off chance you are reading this stranger… thank you again.

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