2 years ago today it was a Saturday, and we (Sister Susan and brother-in-law Brad, Steve and I) were headed toward the airport in St. Louis in what we later learned was one of the worst snowstorms to hit the East Coast in 2009—and maybe even one of the worst in the previous few years. Susan and I were supposed to fly out early that afternoon on the first leg of our journey to pick up Miss K and bring her home. It was not great weather even where we were in Missouri—on the interstate on the way to the airport, we passed a pickup that had gone off the access road and ended up on its side on the highway (the guys got out and offered to help turn it back over):
On the way to the airport, we stopped to make some phone calls before heading on—here we are at the Hardee’s in Lebanon which is apparently the place to be in Lebanon, MO, on a Saturday morning. I’m on the phone with Eldo, the amazing travel agent from Golden Rule, who gave us the best advice of the trip: go on to the airport and throw yourself on the mercy of the airline:
Of course, when we reached the airport for our flight that was supposed to leave for Philadelphia (to make our connect there, then on to Frankfurt and then Moscow) the flight was cancelled. There was no way that we were going to get out of the airport that day, or even the next day. There was a pretty remote chance that we would get out 2 days later. While normally just waiting a few days wouldn’t be a huge problem, we were up against a deadline. We were supposed to take custody of Miss K on Monday the 21st, so that we could finish up all of her Kaluga paperwork and head to Moscow, so that we could be done with all of the Moscow procedures and on the plane back home by New Year’s Eve. Oh, and did I mention that our visas were only good until January 1? On top of this, there was Christmas (for the American Embassy) and a weekend in the midst of all this that were working against us getting home by New Year’s Eve. If we weren’t going to be able to leave for Moscow until after Monday, it would have meant waiting until after New Year’s (a BIG holiday that lasts several days) to make our trip to get Miss K.
So: We pleaded with the airline. We were blessed to have a very sweet lady named Cheryl at the US Air desk in St. Louis who stayed on the phone for over an hour with the airline until she had us on a flight early Monday morning to Philadelphia, and then flights to Frankfurt and Moscow. And when we had to come back to the airport an hour later because when we called Lufthansa they would not confirm our Moscow flight, she stayed on the phone for at least another hour and not only confirmed us from Philadelphia on, she got Business Class seats for us from Philadelphia to Moscow. She was our first hero of the trip.
So—we headed out with new, thick sets of tickets. Two years ago today, by the end of a very long day, my sister Susan and I were crashed at the airport Marriott, waiting until Monday to hopefully head out on a delayed, but much-wanted journey to bring home Miss K.