So then…just as I settle in to sip my soda at 20,000 feet — I hear the passenger behind me ask the flight attendant, “What’s the weather like in Boston?”
WHAT THE HELL?
This flight’s going to Washington DC!
She says, “Oh, it’s nice in Boston tonight. A little cool.”
I pop up and tap her on the shoulder. “Um, where did you say this plane was going?”
“Boston,” she replies.
“No, Washington DC,” I say slowly.
“Noooo. Boston,” she says.
We stare at each other.
One of us is wrong.
And it’s possible the one who’s correct about where the airplane is going is the airplane employee.
To be candid, I hadn’t wanted to go on this stupid business trip anyway. I love my New York job but what 24-year-old wants to cut their weekend short to fly to DC for a Monday morning conference? Not me!
“I thought I was on the plane to DC?” I say hopefully. Maybe the pilot can make a U-turn?
“Sorry,” she says. “We’re headed to Boston. But let’s see what we can do.”
Angel that she is, she radios down to the airline supervisor who hooks me up with a free flight to DC first thing tomorrow – and a free hotel room in Boston tonight!
SCORE! I’m thrilled I don’t have to pay for it myself — or miss the conference — or admit my blunder to my boss.
When I unpack my overnight bag in the hotel, I realize I brought my business suit, blouse, stockings – and NO SHOES!
I only have the sneakers I wore on the flight tonight!
I can’t possibly attend a professional business conference in a suit, stockings, and SNEAKERS! And of course they don’t sell high heels in the hotel gift shop! And certainly not in a size 10! (Yes, I have feet the size of surfboards!)
“Hello, Kim? Guess which of your favorite cousins just landed in Boston and desperately needs to borrow a pair of your size 10 heels? I’ll buy you massive amounts of cocktails in exchange for borrowing your shoes!”
So my big-hearted (and big-footed) cousin Kim drives over to the hotel and dumps 7 pairs of heels on my hotel bed! We pick a pair, then head to the lobby bar for libations.
We laugh, talk, cackle, eat, drink — and drink some more — and finally stumble back up to the room in the wee hours of the morning.
The next day, my head’s splitting as I slip on her shoes, hug her goodbye, and dash off to the airport for my early morning flight.
An hour later, I land in DC – hungover in borrowed heels.
I suffer through the conference – taking a few notes to share with my boss later.
Then I zip back to NY, so relieved that no one need know about my slight detour.
A week later, I receive a note from the accounting department saying, “Your receipts included an airline ticket stub from NY to Boston – and from DC to NY. Please advise how you got from Boston to DC.”
I wonder if I can say, “Hey, dudes, chill. It didn’t cost the company any extra money – and just never you mind how I got from Boston to DC. Just be cool, accountants, be cool.”
I figure I’d better “advise” my boss before I “advise” the accounting department.
I’m mortified, of course. At 24, I want to appear professional, well-prepared, and competent.
I hesitantly confess.
My boss bursts out laughing. “You got on the WRONG plane?”
She hops up and pokes her head out the door to yell: “Did you hear that? Darcy got on the wrong plane! She was supposed to go to DC but she went to BOSTON! Bwahahaha!”
My coworkers pop up from their cubicles to cheer, clap, and laugh.
I hang my head on the Walk of Shame back to my cubicle.
Henceforth, I’m mocked mercilessly whenever I go somewhere:
“Have a great trip to Denver, Darcy – or where ever you end up.”
“Need a map to your apartment?”
“Can I help you find the bathroom?”
And THAT’S how I earned the nickname, “Wrong Way Darcy!”
— Darcy Perdu
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(Ever end up in the wrong place? Take the wrong road – get lost – hop on the wrong plane/train/bus/boat? Any other delicate flowers out there with Sasquatch-size feet?)
Although I’m mercilessly mocked for my wayward ways, I have the good Southern manners to write a thank you note to the President of Eastern Airlines (as shown here).
I share the story of the free flight and hotel room, then write, “I was delighted with the kindness and concern of your employees. I salute your generosity and understanding. Should I ever wander on to the wrong plane again – I hope it’s one of yours!”
Yep, these are actual excerpts between me and the President of Eastern Airlines over the airplane snafu!