Monday, September 13, 2004

New Orleans (VI)

My last post about New Orleans, posted late after I got back.
I was on my way to the airport. I had ordered a cab despite the offer from friends to share a ride because they were leaving 45 minutes before I was. 45 minutes of precious extra sleep, Saturday night being also a 3 AM evening out. Jazz is everywhere in this city and I find it very hard to resist the call of "just another set".
So it is 6:30 AM and I am in the cab en route for the airport, a short 20 minutes drive away. My plane leaves at 8. I have all the time in the world.
Except that on the way there, my taxi driver spots another cab on the side of the road. "Do you mind if I check what's the problem?" No I don't mind. I've got plenty of time. So he stops and proceeds to backing up on the highway toward the other cab. It turned out to be one of his friends, at least one driver he knows up close: the two had an accident about 6 months ago. My driver does not seem to hold a grudge against the guy. He steps out of the car, walk toward his friend and comes back a bit later. "Do you mind if we take another two passengers?". No I don't mind although at this time I am starting to get a bit worried about the time. I still have an hour to the flight. I should be ok.
The couple seems to be traveling with their entire wardrobes. About 4 large suitcases latter, we are piling up extra bags on the front seat. I am squeezed by a blond woman, tanned and rested and a thicker guy, darker hair with a crew cut. The woman is clutching an envelope marked "Honeymoon tickets". The starting point of the discussion is easily found. "Are you starting or finishing the honeymoon?". She smiles, "We're going back home to Tennessee after a cruise. It was fantastic!". "Well, at least you'll have some excitement until the end. It must have been a bit unsettling to break down on your way to the airport." She seems unconcerned. "Well, it was alright. You came right away". I wonder if she thinks that we are part of a "taxi-saving" crew assigned to cruise highways to rescue stranded passengers. By the time the cab is on his way, I have only 50 minutes left until my departure time and I am getting nervous. This is when we hit traffic. An accident a bit down the road. Three lanes blocked. I'm watching the time as if it would make it go slower. 15 minutes later and with only 35 minutes to my departure time, we are arriving to the airport. I ask politely the driver if he could drop me off first: the couple's flight is not for another hour and they have a lot of bags to unload. A quick check of the airlines and the driver says "No. I'll drop them first. I don't want to have to go around the airport again." I am annoyed now, not so much at the thought of missing my flight, but because I have been granting him his requests (stopping in the middle of the highway and picking up people) and I hoped he will grant me mine. After another 5 minutes unloading the couple's suitcases, making them pay for the cab and driving me to the United terminal, he asks me for the full fare. I balked still reeling about the drop-off issue. He seems to understand and tells me quickly "Give me what you want and we'll call it a day!"
I toss him the fare for a share-ride with 3 people and start running to catch my plane. I have a bit less than 30 minutes to check my bag and run to the gate. I do all this and get stuck at the security gates behind an ederly couple. The woman is in her late fifties, her husband looks a bit older. She is carrying 2 cups and some food in a white Styrofoam container. I know that they will take ages to get processed. I politely ask her if I can quickly pass in front of her. She shakes her head "No.. We too have a plane to catch. Why should you pass in front?" All I can tell them is that of all the people in this line, early morning in New Orleans, they are the only ones who behaved in a nasty way. Refusing to do a simple nice gesture for no other reasons than they could say no. That everyone else in the line understood my story (I told my taxi driver story quickly to people in the line) and let me cut the line. A simple courtesy. The woman is unmoved. She looks at me with disdain. She seems to be saying "Your problem is not my problem".
At that moment, I hear my flight being called and grab the airline employee at the security line to explain my predicament. She waves me pass everybody. I explain again to the people in front. One guy is saying "Who would be such an asshole to refuse you to pass if your flight is being called?" I hope the couple could hear that.
I rush to the gate, the boarding area is empty. I get onboard. Sit down with a sight of relief: I made it!
After 5 minutes waiting, the flight attendant calls in the microphone. "We're sorry for the delay, but we're still waiting for a couple of passengers making their way through security. We will depart as soon as they arrive".
Another 5 minutes and the later comers finally arrive. I am sitting on the front row and I can see them clearly: it's the nasty couple. She, carrying the drinks in two cups, he the white container with breakfast. They ignore my smirk as they walk by.


Blogger Jewell said...

Great story, I enjoyed it! *thumbs up*

I love reading about people's adventures!

12:13 AM  
Blogger Just said...


I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll try to keep an eye opened for other great stories...

10:18 PM  
Blogger Jewell said...

Good deal!

I will keep an eye out for these stories!

10:23 PM  

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