One of the more interesting parts of my job is to run seminars in the New York City area. One February gathering was being held at a very early time, so I set the alarm accordingly and arrived at Grand Central Terminal just as the sun was starting to come up. The seminar was only a few blocks away, so I hoofed it down Park Avenue. At an intersection, I looked to my left and there was the sun in all its glory, just having risen above the street. As I looked in the opposite direction, there was a full moon descending in just the same position as the sun. I could have held out my hands and held both! I stood there transfixed, enjoying this view and wondering whether there were other people who knew about this.
Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Alaska
After a business trip to a village on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska, we were ready to return to Nome, when a snow squall moved into the area. We learned we would have to remain in the village for the night and that all visitor rooms were taken. Calling a neighboring town, we found out it had space. Our pilot loaded us onto the plane and took off, but the snow was too heavy to fly in so we immediately landed not far away. However, we were now on the ice of a lagoon and there were huge hummocks of ice between our airplane and the village. The pilot decided that the only way to get us to shelter was to drive the aircraft to another village, six miles away, along a trail meant for dog sleds. As we motored along on the ground in the plane, a dog team came alongside and passed us. Who would have thought that a dog sled could overtake a plane!
I was traveling from Nashville to Chicago for a business meeting. Once airborne, I needed to use the plane's single restroom, which was in the back. There were a couple of men standing nearby, stretching their legs. While I was in the lavatory, we hit turbulence. One of the men was thrown off balance and hit the restroom door. He must have knocked it off its track, because when I went to exit, the door was stuck. I tried pushing on it to no avail. The men couldn't open it either.
Obviously, this started to draw some attention in the cabin and the flight attendant came back to see what was going on. She sent the copilot with a crowbar to try to get me out. No such luck. By now the entire cabin was snickering, while I was starting to get a bit queasy and claustrophobic. The crew decided to land the plane with me in the bathroom and bring maintenance onboard to remove the door. The pilot went on the intercom and announced to the main cabin and the "passenger back in the economy seating area" to prepare for landing. I was told to sit down and hold onto the rail. Once on the ground, another announcement was made that they were going to deplane and then let the maintenance crew on. So I got to wait a while longer in my posh surroundings. The rescue team finally took out the bathroom door. I can't blame the maintenance guys for laughing a bit as I finally made my way out after 45 minutes!
But wait, it gets better. As I was walking through the airport, I ran into a colleague who had come in on another flight. He was wearing a big grin. I said hello and asked him what was so funny. He replied that he just overheard that some plane landed with a lady stuck in the bathroom—could I imagine that? Unfortunately, yes, I could. And the airline's response? No voucher, no extra miles. After all, I did have a seat and reached my destination.
Paul Villela Jr.
San Antonio, Texas
In late 2004 two fellow employees and I had to commute to Houston from San Antonio every week for about three months. We drove the first few weeks but soon found we were going nuts after seeing each other all day, so we started flying and renting a car. We found our per diems allowed us each to rent our own car, but to save money we decided that renting one luxury car was cheaper than renting three economy cars, especially since we were staying in the same hotel.
Thus began nine weeks of test drives of some of the nicest rentals anywhere. We started off slow, renting a Cadillac Escalade the first week, before finally working our way up to a Hummer and then a Jaguar for the last few weeks. We were poised to get away with it, when in our last week our head salesman decided to travel with us. He's a real stick in the mud, preferring Denny's restaurants to a good steakhouse on the company dime, so we reserved a Taurus while he was with us.
Everything was going fine until all four of us showed up at the Houston office. Our main contact walked by and asked right in front of the head salesman, "What, no Jag this week?" Needless to say, all our expense reports were examined with a fine-tooth comb, and all questionable purchases were deducted from our Christmas bonuses later that year.