Travel season is upon us, and along with it, travel horror stories. This thought has come to mind because a friend recently returned from a not so great vacation, I can certainly feel for her. I think everyone has had at least one bad travel experience in their lifetime, and if they haven't, lucky them! When I think of my own bad trips, a trip to Virginia comes to mind. Before it was over with I had an allergic reaction to something, thought I'd lost my keys, and we ran out of gas 15 minutes from home--ugh! My first experience flying wasn't all that great either, my boss and I had overslept due to our alarm clock not going off, and after running like O. J. Simpson through the airport to catch our plane, didn't get to take off because the airplane equivalent to the oil light coming on happened. We went back to the terminal, and while we sat on the plane waiting for the crew to decide what to do with all of us, I look over at another plane that was also supposed to be heading to NYC 15 minutes after we did, and they can't get the door shut on it. So there we sat, two planes full of people, NOT going to NYC, several missing connecting flights-it was not a pretty scene. We finally did get another plane for the 30 or so of us that were left that they hadn't re-routed at that point, only to have it be an extremely bumpy ride, the flight attendant screamed and three people threw up before it was over with. 5 overseas flights since then, and I have yet to see someone throw up!
I think the award for the worst travel experience goes to my friend's former boss. Don decided to take his wife and two children on a family vacation, something they didn't do often. Their destination was only about an hour and a half from home, should be simple--yeah right!!! They were almost there when the car broke down. They had the car towed to a garage not far from the motel, and were told it would be ready in a day or so. No biggie, they could work around this, and the good part was that they could actually see the motel just a little ways down the street, across the road. Shouldn't be too bad as far as getting the kids and the luggage there--WRONG!!! The road was one that you couldn't cross just anywhere, and the nearest crossover was about a mile down the road. So with kids, luggage and whatever else they had in tow, they started walking and eventually got there, a little worse for wear. This was not going to ruin the trip. They did get the car back in a reasonable amount of time and for the most part were able to continue with their plans. There were some minor issues here and there, but nothing horrible, until a couple nights in to the trip when the fire alarms went off at the motel in the middle of the night! Everyone poured out in to the parking lot while the fire department showed up, and Don and his wife spent most of their time convincing their daughter that if her new tennis shoes burned up in the fire, they would buy her new ones. In the morning, Don decided he'd had enough of this whole trip and they were going home early. They packed all their stuff in the car and headed home. The fun was just beginning.
As they were heading down the road, they got behind a truck carrying a mattress. Don didn't give it a second thought (isn't hindsight great?!) and followed behind at a normal pace. All of a sudden the mattress slides off the back of the truck, and before Don could get his car stopped, he drives up on to the mattress and gets stuck. To make matters even worse, the vehicle carrying the mattress doesn't stop! Don gets out to see if he can figure out how to get the car off the mattress, but realizes he can't do it by himself, so now what? In the meantime, someone must have seen what had happpened and called for help because just then a state police car pulls up, the officer gets out and says................................"Is this your mattress?" By this point Don's wife has about had it with all the things that have gone wrong and says to the officer (in a rather sarcastic tone) "yes, we always drive with a mattress strapped to the BOTTOM of our car!" At this point Don explains to the officer what had happened and starts giving him a statement. As they are doing this, the truck that started this fiasco drives down the other side of the highway! He doesn't stop though, I sure hope the police caught up with him further down the road. Don finishes giving his statement, when he and the officer realize that they smell something burning--the exhaust system of the car is igniting the mattress! They do manage to get the car pushed off the mattress before anything horrible happens. The silver lining to this story--Don said that it was actually kind of interesting, it burnt a perfect image of the exhaust system on it and he knew where all the holes were that needed repaired.
So, as all of you head out on your summer travels, think of Don, and count your blessings. And beware of trucks hauling mattresses!