From the Reuters News Service:
Philadelphia, 10/13/05, 7:00 pm. Heavy rain in the North-East delayed air traffic from Philadelphia to Chicago by five hours this afternoon, making it impossible for travellers on this sector to catch the last connecting flight to Seattle. These travellers were thus stranded in what one person described as "bloody Philadelphia" - their only hope being a flight that would leave at 6:30 next morning. Meanwhile, rumours abound as to the further delay of flights out of Philadelphia given the continuing forecasts of rain. Speaking on the occassion, a traveller identifying himself only as Falstaff said that he would now officially be spending more time in the airline system than he would on his vacation. "I hate my life", Falstaff added.
Meet Harry Wainwright. Harry Wainwright is not, on first impression, a particularly impressive guy. Most people would describe him as an average Joe with an average Wal-mart job, an average, desperate-housewives-watching spouse, and average aspirations. Harry spends average weekends in his average house gambling over the Internet and always losing because he insists on playing the averages. There's absolutely nothing remarkable about Harry.
Except for one thing. Harry Wainwright is officially the someone who it would kill if, just once, a flight I was on were to leave on time. Harry, of course, does not know this. He goes through his average work days completely unaware that every time I head for the airport, bags packed, ticket in hand, his life hangs in the balance.
So far, of course, the airlines have taken good care of Harry. The time I flew to Greensboro (don't ask) they took a risk and delayed my flight by only half an hour, but made up for it by delaying the flight of the people I was meeting there by three hours, so that I spent two and a half hours in the masoleum that is Greensboro airport at 11 o clock at night. Then, on the way back, just to make sure that Harry was in good shape for the softball game with his son the next day, they made my flight leave another two hours late. The next time I flew, to Chicago, they ensured another four hour delay. And another hour on the way back.
And today, in a move that ensures that Harry will live to see his grandkids, the airlines effectively cancelled my flight for today and gave me a ticket for tomorrow.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like Harry. I wish him well. But would anyone really notice or care if he wasn't around? I mean it's not like his kids are going to college anyway, and one less checkk-out clerk is not going to bring Wal-mart crashing down. Just once let a flight I'm on take off on time and I swear I'll write his widow the most beautiful, heartfelt condolence letter you've ever read. I'll use notepaper with little wreaths on it. I'll even write some moving poetry, for godsakes. Just once I want to get to an airport and not have to spend hours waiting. Just once I want rapid check-in to mean something. Just once. Is that too much to ask?
HWSNBF: are you happy now?