When we arrived at the Long Beach airport in May for our family’s Disneyland vacation, our plane had to sit on the runway for an hour and a half waiting for one of the three parking spots to open up so we could exit the vehichle. We were cramped, hot, annoyed and tired by the time we made our way down the ramp and picked up our luggage.
I called the airport shuttle we’d booked and paid for and was told that they’d given our van away to someone else because our flight status had said “ARRIVED” for the past two hours and they assumed we’d made other arrangements. No we had not. It was 11pm, we were exhausted, out $50 and stranded at the Long Beach Airport.
I’m not ashamed to say that a few choice words and a few tears escaped my face before I calmed down and we decided to head over and pay another $50 for a cab to the hotel. At that time of night in that dust speck of an airport, cabs arrived about every 10 minutes and we stood in a line waiting our turn and whining to anyone who would listen.
The senior couple ahead of us in line took pity on our small pathetic band of sticky travelers and offered us their cab. The woman was so very kind and I was so very done that I didn’t even fight her. I didn’t say, “You’re old and you were here first and you’re probably on the verge of an arthritic fit. You take the cab and we’ll wait a few more minutes for our chariot to Mickeyville.” All I could say was, “Thank you,” as we slipped into the grimy leather seats and headed off, my arms serving as human carseats. Both kids fell asleep as we sped along.
Then yesterday, a month after our trip, I walked into the kids’ bedroom and found Laylee standing upright, staring straight ahead with a strange expression on her face. Noticing me, she looked up and said, “Oh mom. I had to stop cleaning. I was just thinking about that lady who gave us her taxi at Disneyland and I was so happy because we got to drive there and so sad because she’s still there waiting and my eyes are red like I’m gonna cry but my mouth can’t stop smiling. I’m just so medium right now, I don’t know if I’m happy or sad.”
Maybe I should tell her that it’s likely the lady is not still stranded on the curb of the airport. But maybe not. It makes a better story that way. So much more medium.