The instigator of today’s post is Absolutely Bananas… so if you don’t like it, blame her! 😉 She’s not literally bananas, or maybe she is. Regardless, here is my travel horror story.
In the Spring of 2006, My Little Critter had just passed her first birthday and I was dating a man in AZ. (This was obviously pre-Oregon Dad days.)
Things worked out that LC would be coming along with me for a long weekend visit. Of course, this meant we had to fly.
I’m not sure I had given much thought to what it would be like to fly, ALONE, with a young child and the plethora of baby junk this entailed. But, I’m a trooper and figured we’d make due. So, bright and early in the morning, LC and I load up in my 1993 Ford ‘scort wagon (it was HOT, I’m telling you.) and began the 1.5 hour drive to the airport. Figuring out how to handle getting us (and stuff) from the long term parking lot in B.F.E. was challenging. But, once again, we managed. Baby was attached to Mommy in a sling, Carry-ons strapped to top of rolling suitcase, car seat over Mom’s shoulder via the tether strap. You get the picture.
That isn’t the story.
Our real adventure came once we were inside the airport, had checked in and were waiting for our flight. (The VERY nice check in clerk blacked out a seat for LC’s carseat, even though I had only paid for one ticket. That’s not the story either.)
Once we were at the gate, I realized we had well over an hour before boarding and I had an adventuresome baby-almost toddler on my hands. The nice ladies at the counter held onto the carseat and other junk I couldn’t carry all over while LC and I headed for some much needed food and beverage.
While walking back from our quick meal (keep the mental image in your head… Mom, baby attached to front in a sling, luggage, etc…). There is this man standing off to the side near our gate. He inquires of me, “where you headed?” I said, “Phoenix”. He steps a bit closer to me and says, “oh, why don’t you postpone your flight until tomorrow.” I replied (as we continue walking away), “We can’t.”. The man was insistent that we could wait a little while to fly out, just stay one more night. I finally piped up with, “Daddy is waiting for us on the ground… can’t delay our flight.” Which wasn’t true, but it worked.
My first thought was CREEP. Trying to either get Mommy to delay so he can get some nasty hotel action on… or trying to steal my baby and sell her on the black market.
I felt a bit shaken and jittery. We returned to our seats in the terminal and pre-boarded with wonderful flight staff helping out with LC’s carseat and getting us settled. A few minutes later, when regular boarding commences I stood up in the aisle to rearrange our overhead bin. That’s when I saw THE MAN, the one from the terminal boarding our plane. Now my thoughts take a whole new direction. Why would he be trying to get me to NOT fly (in a creepy not an I’m not wanting to fly with a baby kind of way) when he is on the same plane? The flight attendants kept stopping by to check on LC and I and coo over how cute she is, etc… so I pulled one aside and told her about our little “incident”. Pretty soon I had several members of the flight staff around me talking in hushed tones, wanting me to repeat what had occurred prior to boarding. Our flight was delayed for take off for a good 20 minutes while the pilot was informed and the staff took whatever precautions they felt necessary. Before take off, a nice attendant came back by to tell me the pilot had decided we were okay to fly and had checked the manifest against potential threats, rechecked the plane, etc…
My stomach didn’t stop doing flip-flops the entire flight. The flight staff stopped by often to update me or just check in. Several times some of the gentlemen a couple rows over inquired how we were doing. I just smiled and said flying made me a little nervous. I wasn’t about to tell them I thought we might have someone on board with terrorist intentions and cause a panic.
Luckily we landed safely and all is well. I will never know what that guys deal was. I know without a doubt that it had NOTHING to do with my having a young child on a very full plane. There were lots of other children on board and I didn’t see him approach any of the other parents. I can’t help but wonder if somehow he was moved by this mother and child duo and didn’t carry out whatever plans he might have had. Or perhaps its was just all some weird coincidence, one that I would like to never repeat.
The real horror story was having to leave my pack-n-play at home because there was no way I could tote that as well. Where would this baby sleep?