by Teresa Moyer
Before I took this cross-country adventure, the only traveling I had embarked on was road trips in my car with me as the driver. Also, I’d never ventured far outside of my home in Oregon because I didn’t know how to pump my own gas, which is not allowed in Oregon. I had never purchased a plane ticket so that was an adventure as well. I taught myself how to purchase a round-trip plane ticket. Then I scheduled my shuttle to get to the airport 75 miles away.
After the Groom Airport shuttle dropped me off at PDX my adventure really began. I was going to fly across the United States for the very first time. I flew from Oregon to North Carolina with a stop in Dallas Fort Worth to change planes.
I must have had a look of confusion when I reached the ticket counter, because the lady behind the counter asked me if she could direct me where I needed to go.
I showed her my boarding pass and she asked me if I had any luggage to check. I said just my carry on and so she told me to continue on down the concourse till I got to the first right and then turn there and continue following that concourse till I got to security.
I began walking and walking and walking!
I reached the point to turn right from that first concourse, where I was met by another airport employee who must have recognized the same confused looked the lady at the ticket counter saw. He asked me if I knew where I needed to go. I showed him my boarding pass on my phone. He looked on the computer board and said, “Your flight is still on time, you need Terminal C Gate 17. Just continue to follow the hallway with the signs for C.
I began walking and walking and walking again.
When I finally reached security, I thought to myself, why is security so far away? I asked the first officer, “Where do I get the wheelchair help I requested online?” He flatly said, “Back at the ticket counter.” I asked if he could request that service for me and he said he couldn’t, and I’d need to return to the ticket counter.
Well, I wasn’t going to walk all the way back there, so I decided to continue on since I’d already walked this far.
My artificial knee lit up the x-ray and other parts of my body showed metal as well. I told the gal that I was pretty sure the only metal in me was my knee, but according to the machine all of my mid-section had lit up and was told I would need to be frisked.
After that adventure through security, I thought to myself, not much further now. Oh, how wrong could I be! I kept following the signs directing me to Terminal C. Finally, I saw C-1 and realized I still had a very long walk to C-17. My gate was almost to the very end!
When I arrived at C-17 I checked my fitness watch and I had walked, without sitting to rest, for 3/4 of a mile. The first time I’d walked that distance in years. And this was three months post knee replacement surgery. I posted on Facebook and a friend told me to make sure I had the wheelchair assistance waiting for me at DWF and CLT. I got confirmation all was set for the rest of my trip to Charlotte, NC. But my adventure was far from over.
On the flight to DFW there was a medical emergency, so we were instructed to stay in our seats till the EMT’s had boarded the plane and taken the passenger off, then we could disembark. I was met with a wheelchair, and I showed the young man my boarding pass for my next flight. I originally had a 45-minute layover, but that had been reduced to approximately 20 minutes to get to my connecting flight. Thankfully, it was in the same terminal but 20 gates apart. The attendant to me to hold on and he jogged me to my connecting flight. I thanked him, gave him a tip and boarded my flight.
I discovered 45 minutes is way too short for a layover. If not for the wheelchair service, I would have missed my connecting flight. Lesson learned! I also learned the valuable lesson of finding peace and joy during that moment because, you see, getting stressed out would not have changed the circumstances, but it would have changed me.
Once on the plane I enjoyed looking at the night sky with city lights as far as the eye could see from Dallas to Charlotte. Amazing the difference in West coast and East coast seen from above.
I was greeted by a really nice man who had such a deep accent I couldn’t understand him very well, but he was patient with me. I told him I was going to be picked up at 12:15 am. He pushed me to my scheduled pick-up location for my ride to the motel. I assured him I would be okay waiting on the bench, but he politely told me he would wait with me and to remain in the wheelchair. That might have been policy, but it was still very nice of him to stay so I wasn’t outside alone at midnight in a new city. I had an awesome experience at CLT. They got five stars for that part of the airport adventure.
Finally at the writer’s conference, I now had to get used to the time zone difference and the physical pain I was feeling the next morning. On day one, at lunchtime a gal came to me and said she was so glad I had found help purchasing my plane ticket. My face must have registered something because her expression changed, too. She asked if I was the one who asked for help purchasing my ticket. I said yes, but that I received none, so I taught myself how to buy a round trip ticket. It was at that moment I realized my wording had everyone assuming I was looking for financial help buying the ticket. The realization that most of the attendees there assumed I’d been asking for financial help put a damper on the rest of my time at the conference.
Now for the return trip home……
Bio: Teresa lives in Oregon where she attended Salem Bible College earning an associate degree in religion and then attended Eugene Bible College earning her BS in Christian counseling. She worked in the healthcare field for 35 years. Teresa received Gastric Bypass surgery in 2020 and has lost over 200 pounds. She then received a much-needed knee replacement. She is currently writing her memoir through Redemption Press. Besides writing, Teresa loves to read, draw and paint.
5 thoughts on “THE LESSONS I LEARNED PART 1”
I enjoyed reading about his adventure very much. I too have never flown and wouldn’t have a clue how to maneuvre at an airport or a layover. Also I have almost never been alone in my lifetime. So glad I am on your email list. Love you Mrs. Malone…
Thank you , Pam ! Stay tuned for more!
Pam thank you so much for your comment. And yes air travel can be an adventure!
Thank you Pam! Air travel can be an adventure for sure!
Teresa: loved your story.. airports are very challenging! Looking forward to part 2!