A long time ago in another life I worked for an airline. It was in the heady days shortly after deregulation and in all reality it was one of my childhood dreams to work for an airline. I really loved it, and the hubs started there about a year and a half after I did. We lived the life of Riley and traveled extensively and really had a ball until we had a Chapter 7 reorganization, and the “bonus” I had been paid as a supervisor turned into a “salary advance” that they pulled back out of my checks. I still enjoyed what I was doing and was well on my way up the ladder. I started out as a cross-utilized customer service rep, worked my way up to station trainer, supervisor and then an auditor. After 11 years of marriage (yes, I was married at age 4—how else could I have just celebrated my 28th anniversary in June?), we got pregnant on our first try. Apparently I was Fertile Myrtle, because Caleb followed Tyler exactly 24 months and one week later. After I had my boys, things totally refocused. I decided that being home with my baby boys and being the one who read Green Eggs and Ham to them until they had it memorized was way more important than dealing with disgruntled businessmen whose bags were delayed and drunken hookers who missed the last flight out to Las Vegas. So I quit after 10 years of working for them in 1993 and got pregnant again a week after I quit. And then got pregnant when Amy wasn’t quite a year old. And I have never regretted leaving. Ted still works there, although due to a merger, the airline has a different name. The company I started with was the surviving carrier and the holding corporation, but they took on the other carrier name for a more global appeal. I bet I could still push a plane back from the gate…and at one time I was a certified brake rider. I know that anyone who knows me now won’t believe it, because I was so obviously born without the backing up a vehicle gene, but when you push the plane, you are facing it, so it’s not technically backing up. I think I’m diverting from my original subject, but My ADHD Me will totally get on board (love the airline references, hee-hee) with me here and now maybe she won’t think I’m part of the vast conspiracy. So that’s the whole back story.
One drizzly and cold Saturday afternoon I was the Ground Security Coordinator on duty for our carrier. We got a phone call from our corporate dispatch telling us to expect a drop-in (unscheduled) flight because there was a suspected hijacking on board. This was WAY before 9-11…I think it was probably around 1985 or so. Because our carrier contracted out ground services for the plane that was flying over…oh, what the heck! America West (us) worked Midway Airlines (them) in certain cities where they didn’t have enough flights to make it worthwhile to staff a full crew. So we got picked to work the hijacking here, because Midway didn’t have a ground presence in ABQ. Some lady had apparently observed a man acting strangely on board the aircraft. She observed him “toying” what she thought was a weapon. She reported it to the crew, who felt it was a credible threat and wanted to land. I had to have my crew meet the plane and arranged for a bus to remote the 90 or so passengers to the room the FBI set up. Then, when the flight was cleared for departure, I had to re-route all the 90 or so passengers (minus the crazy lady) to their final destinations. And re-tag their bags. And be Midway’s spokesperson in ABQ. It ended up taking about 12 hours all in all. The passengers were pretty grumpy, but I would’ve been too. I asked if I could leave, and the FBI SAC told me that he couldn’t make me stay, but that if I left, they would bring me back in against my will. So being the quick study that I am, I stayed. I had a blurb on all the local news channels that was picked up by the CBS national news (it was a slow news day). My part was about 30 seconds. So that’s my claim to fame.
(p.s. The “weapon” was the man’s electric shaver that he decided to use in his seat rather than in the lav. The lady was a nutcase….)
The singing telegram thing will have to wait for another time….