Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend in Maine, Travel Woes & the Kindness of Strangers

Hi everyone! So maybe it has taken me about two weeks to get around to this, but I wanted to give you a quick rundown of my weekend trip to Maine earlier this month because some pretty awesome stuff happened.

Weekend in Maine
The reason for the trip: my cousin got married. The wedding was on Lake Sebago and my extended family all stayed in cabins around the lake for the weekend. It was so awesome walking outside our cabin and running into cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. The wedding was beautiful and the weekend was full of relaxation, campfires and quality time with my family. It was perfect.

While most of my family drove (all the way from Florida,) I couldn't quite take that much time off work, so I flew in Friday and came home (or attempted to, but I'll get to that shortly) Monday. The weather up there is gorgeous this time of year and I enjoyed every minute. A group of us even went for a run Sunday morning and I can't tell you how nice it was to run outside and not feel like you are melting! I couldn't find a kite to fly (one of my goals for the weekend), but my sister and I did the zipline across the lake, which was super fun!

1. Dad and I - 2. Mom and I twirling, of course
1. My siblings and I (missing a sister, though!) - 2. Lake Sebago
3. A really neat picture I took of my niece while blowing bubbles on the porch with the kids
1. My nephew Aidan and I - 2. My niece Alyssa and I
Obsessed with these beautiful children.
Travel Woes & the Kindness of Strangers
If you know me in real life, you know that I don't have the best luck with air travel. Now bad luck would be plane crashes and whatnot, so I wouldn't go that far, but I can't take one trip without missing a flight, getting stranded in a random city alone for the night or missing a connection. It never fails and it is never my fault. You'd think a girl with my air travel luck would always schedule non-stop flights, but when you are going on a super quick trip and trying to save money, sometimes you don't have much of a choice. After bad weather in Orlando almost caused me to miss my connection in Atlanta on the way up to Maine (I was that girl hauling ass through the airport at 3:30 to make it to my 3:30 pm flight), I figured the flights home would be smooth sailing. Boy, was I mistaken.

About 20 minutes from landing in Baltimore to make my connecting flight to Orlando, the pilot came on saying because of thunderstorms in Baltimore, we'd have to make a pit stop in Philadelphia. At this point, it's already about 8 p.m. so things aren't looking great. I was actually getting in touch with my good friend from college, Theresa who lives in Philly and was actually a little excited to reunite for a night. Around 8:30 p.m. (the same time my flight was scheduled to leave Baltimore, the pilot comes on saying we are leaving Philly and heading to Baltimore. Most people on the plane were thrilled; I, was crossing my fingers my flight wouldn't leave without me. When we landed in Baltimore, a city where I know no one, the flight attendant broke the news that the flight to Orlando was long gone. I was stranded in Baltimore.

After an emotional goodbye to my sister, niece and nephew earlier in the day and a long afternoon of traveling, I completely lost it and broke down. While waiting for my baggage, crying to my mother on the phone about how AirTran's idea of helping out stranded customers was to give me a "discounted" hotel rate of $60, and coming to find out the hotel they partner with doesn't even offer a shuttle to the airport for my 6 a.m. flight, the most amazing thing happened.

A couple approached me and told me they'd really like to help me. The man walked with me into the airport office to speak to someone about the situation and try to get some other options and they tried to help me find a better hotel, with no luck. After spending an hour in the airport trying to figure something out, they decide to drive me to the hotel and at least try to get me a ride secured to the airport the next morning. When we get to the hotel, the woman at the front desk says they aren't the same hotel that AirTran partners with, so although they do have a shuttle, the room is $120 a night. I'm so exhausted and frustrated at this point, that I thank the couple profusely for their help, but that I am just going to pay the $120 and stay there. The couple leaves and the woman at the front desk tells me that because she feels awful about my experience, she'd like to offer me a generous discount, making the room $60 instead of $120. I was speechless and completely overwhelmed by all the kindness I had experienced in the last few hours.

I got to my room no longer feeling frustrated and angry, but feeling so grateful for being on the receiving end of these Random Acts of Kindness. I can't put into words how appreciative I was of these people. The funny thing is, I went into my trip with all these ideas of RAKs I can perform in the airport and in my travels, but I ended up being on the receiving end and not performing as many as I planned. I would have been a lot worse off that night without these nice people, so thank goodness for them. It's such proof to me that my mission is a good one. Good things come to those who do good and what you put out into the universe will come back to you at some point. The whole "Pay it Forward" idea has never been so apparent.

To sum it up, I had an absolutely wonderful weekend in Maine, a few low travel points and a ton of moments of complete happiness and appreciation for people in my life, family and random strangers.