I didn't rent a car in Omaha for Tank's orientation, partly because the hotel had a free shuttle for the airport and the college. When I called to ask about where to find the shuttle once I landed, I got: OH, WE AREN'T RUNNING THE SHUTTLE RIGHT NOW DUE TO STAFFING ISSUES. I still opted not to rent a car.
Tuesday morning, I asked the cab driver who drove us to the college, if he'd be willing to meet us at the college at 2:15 to take us to the airport. He agreed, and I asked him for his cell number just in case our plans changed.
Tank finished registering for classes and a moment later I got a text from Southwest:
YOUR FLIGHT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
I'm sorry, what the what?
My new mom-from-home friend had asked me earlier if my flight was OK. She'd heard that Southwest was having 3rd party weather system problems. All day my flight showed 'on time.'
I called my cabbie guy, Hamid. He agreed to pick us up in 10 minutes. I had no intention of staying another day. I told Tank if they couldn't get us on another flight, I'd rent a car and we'd drive the 6.5 hours home.
Tank had chatted with Hamid that morning. We'd learned that he was from Morocco. When you're with Tank, you meet people. On our drive to the airport, Hamid continued the conversation. He gave Tank some life advice in his very thick accent. "Listen to your mother. You hear me now, what I say to you. So, you know. Right?"
He was a character and we enjoyed our short ride with him. As we approached the airport he said, "You going to school here, then? Yes, great. You keep my number. You call me. I want you come to the house. Have a bite. With me and my family. Why not? Sure, you do that. It'll be great."
We got to the airport and told Hamid that we'd call him next time. I have no doubt in my mind that Tank will end up at a barbeque in Hamid's backyard.
While Tank waited in the mile long line at Southwest, I ran over and asked United if they had a flight to Chicago with seats available. I bought two tickets for Tank and I for $175 a piece. I was relieved it wasn't $500 each. They made us pay to check my carry-on. Another $35. I emailed Southwest the next day, but I haven't heard back yet. I hope they'll pay for our tickets.
*Editing to add, Southwest emailed back: HERE'S $200 LUV POINTS, or whatever. They think they're gonna give me a gift card worth less than what I paid for my original tickets? Not over.
As we were heading through security, I got another text from Southwest. GOOD NEWS, WE'VE BOOKED YOU ON ANOTHER FLIGHT. YOU DEPART THURSDAY AT 7:30 AM.
I laughed. I had three kids getting a 2nd vaccine shot the next morning. Things to do. This flight took off a little later than our original, but I was so grateful that we managed to get home.
While we waited for our flight, I got another text. It was Hamid checking that I'd gotten my flight sorted out. How sweet is that?