I Celebrate the Contrast!!
It’s currently 8:26 am Central Daylight Time and I’m writing this post in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Why? Because my flight got canceled… last night. I was in Chicago for a conference that ended Sunday, but I chose to fly home yesterday because my experience has taught me that it’s always a good idea to build flexibility into my travel plans. I’ve learned that there are many things I can’t control when I travel (weather and traffic being at the top of the list), so building flexibility into my plans greatly reduces the stress factor. However, the past 24 hours have really tested my resolve NOT to lose my peace of mind.
As Abraham (Esther) Hicks so eloquently puts it, when you set an intention (i.e. – “losing my peace of mind is NOT an option,”) Source will provide you with plenty of opportunities to that prove that you mean it. Here’s a list of the opportunities I’ve been given:
When I arrived at the airport, I received a text informing me that my flight was actually on time.
15 minutes later I received another text from United. My flight was delayed again.
20 minutes later I got text #4. Another delay.
15 minutes later, text #5. Delayed yet again.
I checked the flight status board. My flight had been canceled.
While checking the flight status board, I get a text from Orbitz. According to Orbitz, my flight was delayed but I should still show up at the airport on time.
I looked at the flight status board again, and then at my phone. I decided to call United.
The United agent apologizes for the inconvenience and informs me that the flight has indeed been canceled and that the canceled flight is the last one from Chicago to Salt Lake City that day on any airline. She proceeds to book me on a 6:40 am flight on Delta. While on hold, I get disconnected.
Immediately after getting disconnected, I get a call from Progressive Insurance. My stepson had been in a car accident. He’s okay, but the car isn’t. It appears the other driver is at fault, but the agent just wanted to go over a few details with me.
I used the time I spoke to Progressive to hike to United’s customer service desk, which is on the opposite end of the terminal.
The United agent at O’Hare confirms that I had been booked on Delta, and he prints what he called my “boarding pass,” along with a hotel voucher and two meal vouchers worth $7 dollars each (which at airport prices will buy me 2 bananas).
I look at the “boarding pass,” but I don’t see a ticket number, a seat assignment, or a record locator. I question the missing information, and the United agent assures me that I can use it to board the aircraft.
I have my doubts, but I choose not to argue the point. Meanwhile, I continue to get text messages from Orbitz and United telling me to show up on time for my canceled flight.
I have a built-in GPS in my brain, which means that I never get lost… but somehow I get lost trying to find the waiting area for the hotel shuttles.
I find the waiting area for the hotel shuttles, only to discover that I have to wait 30 minutes for the hotel shuttle to show up. Just as I’m about to board the shuttle, I literally get shoved aside by a horde (yes, a horde) of Chinese tourists anxious to board the same shuttle. This doesn’t upset me, however, since I know it’s a cultural thing. Anyone who has been to China knows that there’s always a mass rush to board any transportation there, and people inevitably get shoved out of the way, trampled on, etc.
I didn’t get trampled, but between the tourists and their luggage, I get displaced from the shuttle. (I start to see a pattern emerge).
I finally make it to the hotel and go straight to bed.
I return to the airport early to check in for my flight on Delta. Since I didn’t have any bags to check (I’m trusting that United will keep their word and deliver my previously checked bag to my home), I proceed directly to the security checkpoint. The TSA agent informs me that the document the United agent insisted was a boarding pass is, in fact, merely a receipt. I have to get a REAL boarding pass from the Delta counter.
I realize that I can’t use one of the self-serve kiosks because I don’t have a ticket number or record locator, so I wait in line to speak to a live person. I discover that United never confirmed my flight. It turns out that I do NOT have a reservation on Delta after all.
The Delta agent does his best to book me on the flight that United had “confirmed” the previous day, but the flight is overbooked and the best he can do is to put me on a waitlist.
I know that Source always gives us what we expect, and since I expected not to make it onto the flight, that’s what happened.
I explain my situation to the gate agent, who does her best to confirm me on the next flight, but she can only put me on standby again.
I walk away and I call United Airlines, feeling that I have nothing to lose at this point. I explain my situation again and I ask the agent on the phone to just confirm me on whatever flight she can get on whatever airline. (** NOTE ** I have to admit that I really wanted to blame United for what many would now describe as a big-time clusterf***, but I was aware that I had become an unwitting co-creator in my travel saga. My periodic moments of frustration confirmed that. So I moved into gratitude and praised the agent on the phone for her efforts. While she searched for an open flight, I privately expressed gratitude for the efforts of everyone who had tried to help up to that point, and I recognized that they were doing their best under the circumstances.)
The phone agent confirmed me on a flight leaving 12:12 PM CDT and emailed me the boarding pass as proof that I was indeed confirmed.
I decided that I would rather have a printed boarding pass, so I returned to the same customer service desk as the night before. The agent not only printed my boarding pass for me, but she placed me on a priority waitlist for an earlier flight.
I am now at gate C7, waiting to see if I can get on the earlier flight.
11:15 am MDT – I’m on the earlier flight, flying over the Rocky Mountains. I dozed shortly after boarding the plane, and I’m now feeling refreshed. I even have a strong feeling that my checked bag is in the compartment directly underneath me, and that we will be arriving in Salt Lake together.
So the big question is, how did I deal with all of the opportunities Source gave me NOT to lose my peace of mind? Well… I think I did pretty well, but I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s the list of positive things that happened:
My ride home goes to work every day at 5:30 am. He would have had to give up a large chunk of his sleep to pick me up from the airport to get me home around midnight. Had the flight been delayed rather than canceled, he would not have gotten any sleep at all. Even though he was totally okay with not getting any sleep, I felt guilty about depriving him of his rest. The canceled flight meant he got a full 8 hours of sleep, and I had peace of mind about that.
While waiting for my hotel shuttle, an airport employee struck up a conversation with me, and after explaining what I do, we got into a deep discussion about how he could turn his dream of owning a bike detail shop into a reality. It turns out that he was already well on the way to making his dream come true. All he needed to do was to make some minor adjustments and let go of the minutia that was tripping him up. I’m excited to get a call from him telling me the grand opening date of his shop, and I’m glad I was able to give him peace of mind about being on the right track.
That same airport employee suggested that I should “accidentally” get on the wrong hotel shuttle so I can get to my hotel faster. I tried his suggestion, but I was totally honest with the shuttle driver about my intention. The driver sympathized with my plight, and he took me to my hotel even though he worked for a different property. Not only did I arrive at my hotel directly behind the real shuttle, but my van was much bigger – AND I was the ONLY passenger. That driver got a $20 tip, and I had peace of mind knowing that I wasn’t going to be stranded at the airport for another hour.
I had bought food to eat on my original flight home, which turned into my dinner at the hotel. United gave me food vouchers because they had canceled my flight, so I was able to use those to buy my breakfast and airplane snacks. I had peace of mind knowing that didn’t have to spend any extra money to keep myself fed.
My stepson and his dad had not spoken in 6 months. While the car accident was unfortunate, my absence forced them to speak to each other, and that relationship is now mending. I now have peace of mind knowing that I don’t have to play referee.
I made an awesome connection that may turn into a new corporate speaking engagement. At least, that’s a possibility. I love speaking to corporate groups, because I know that a simple dose of “practical positivity” with everyday application potential goes much further than a simple pep talk. Let’s face it. There are a LOT of unhappy folks in the corporate world – at all levels, and if they can learn how to apply simple, proven principles that can keep everyone happy no matter what’s going on, I’ve done my job. That conversation on the airplane gave me peace of mind about my career, because it once again proved that Source finds very unexpected ways to get me to my “end results” faster than any means I can think of.
1:53 pm MDT – I’m home. My checked bag was already waiting for me, the light rail train that stops less than a mile from my house was waiting for me at the airport, and my mom was waiting to pick me up at the train station. My friend Andy Dooley (creator of Vibration Activation) loves to say, “I celebrate the contrast!” I sure got a healthy dose of contrast today, and I can honestly say that I’m celebrating it. Why? Because I was reminded of one very simple thing: When you commit to something, Source really does conspire to make it happen.
I love my life.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.