It was one of my pre-school families from the YMCA – two of my ballerinas and their little brother. I called out to their mom across the airport. "Becky!"
She turned. Her face was just as surprised as mine. I walked over to the opposite gate. "You would not believe how happy I am to see you guys right now," I told her. "I've had the shittiest morning." I let the foul language slip, not even caring, and detailed what had happened.
The kids ran over, and looked up at me sleepy-eyed, a bit dazed and definitely confused. It always throws off the little ones to see me out of context.
"Miss Sydnie?" One asked. "What are YOU doing here? Are you going on our airplane?" I smiled. They gave me a monster hug. The kind of hug where the combined force of their bodies almost knocked me over.
I went back to my gate to grab my luggage and found a seat with the family. For a good hour or more I sat with them, entertaining the kids, and talking with their parents until they departed on their flight. We said our good-byes.
I sent silent Thank You's to the heavens above, and with my mood elevated set on search of food before waiting for my 9:10 flight to begin boarding... and to get to the point: I ate. I waited. I watched only one woman, split from a party of three, board that flight to Charlotte on stand by. The list was 18 people long, with me at number 9.
I commiserated with other stand by passengers, and when the flight departure dust settled among the airline agents, I tried to get to the bottom of the situation.
Apparently, the previous day's flash thunderstorm resulted in the cancelling of a host of flights. My 6:30am flight, the first of the morning, was cancelled because the plane never came in last night. Even worse, all of the day's flights were overbooked by 10, in addition to the long standby lists from the previous day. The predicament was true across all airlines, at all area airports. The best advice given: go home, and come back tomorrow night, when my flight was confirmed. Otherwise, it was 9:30 am, and the next flight I could wait stand by on was at 2pm. To wait standby, or not to wait standby? That was the question.