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I Missed My Flight...
The blow dryer was deafening, but I was determined to dry my hair as quickly as possible. In one hand I held in the blow dryer. In the other hand, I was trying my best to apply foundation. It was a losing battle. Finally, I turned the blow dryer off and unplugged it in defeat. With all of the rushing around I was doing, maybe my hair would dry that way. I looked in the mirror and winced. My face had the appearance of a cheetah, and a sad excuse for a cheetah at that. I smoothed out my face the best I could, but it still wasn’t enough. I was resolved to washing my face and completely starting over.
That wasted more time than I had to give. After waking up late, I was rushing around my hotel room to pack everything up and get ready so that I could get to the airport. It was no one’s fault by my own that I had forgotten to ask for a wake-up call, but I was mad at the world as I rushed around. The time was passing by faster than I cared to admit. It was a losing battle as I threw everything into my carry on and prayed that it would shut. After many failed attempts, I finally sat on it and used my curvy body mass to shut it. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to put my toiletries in it and angrily had to reopen the suitcase. More time was wasted, but finally I was satisfied that I had remembered everything. I grabbed my purse, jacket, and suitcase. After one last glance into the whirlwind of a hotel room, I closed the door.
The elevator could not move fast enough. It clanked down floor-to-floor, stopping to get anyone else that wanted to leave. After many frustrated sighs, the elevator finally stopped at the ground floor. I walked out in a huff and made a beeline for the door.
“Thank you for staying…” I did not hear the rest of what the man at the check-in desk had to say. I was out of the revolving doors and walking to the curb before he could have finished his thought. I hated to be rude, but I was rushed and had to make my plane. After a crazy family reunion that I had been lucky enough to squeeze into my schedule, I had to go back home to make a business meeting. I would make it right on time if everything went as planned, but so far, nothing had gone as planned. I was hoping to make up the wasted time by getting a fast cab driver, and I had my fingers crossed that the line for security would be short.
“Taxi!” I yelled, sticking my hand for all to see. I waved it up and down, hoping that a free taxi would come screeching up.
After nearly five minutes, a cab pulled up. I literally threw my luggage into the back seat and climbed in.
“I can put those in the trunk, miss,” the driver said, glancing back.
“No time. Take me to the airport,” I said forcefully, and he pulled away from the curb and got into the mess of traffic.
“Go faster,” I urged over less than a minute later.
“I cannot break the law, miss. I am very sorry.”
I groaned and settled back in the seat. “You must be the worst driver in the city. Say goodbye to your tip.”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot break the law, miss. I need to keep my business.”
“Whatever. Just drive,” I muttered, pulling a compact out of my purse. I busied myself with fixing up my makeup. Though I was only going to the airport, as a successful business woman, I wanted to always look my best.
As I was applying lipstick, the car jolted and shook. I jerked my head up, a streak of lipstick across my right cheek. “Really? What now?” I snapped, glaring at the driver.
He was looking forward through the windshield, not responding to my questions. Then, he got out of the car, holding his arm limply. I looked through the windshield, and my stomach sank. There was no way that I would ever make my plane now. We were parked in the middle of an intersection and had crashed into another car.
I grabbed a tissue from my purse and began wiping the lipstick off of my face as I got out of the backseat. I knew that I would have to stay there even though the crash was no fault of my own. There was not way that I would make my flight, and I would miss the meeting by hours.
“Are you okay, miss?” the cab driver said, still holding his arm gently.
“Yes…are you?” I asked, realizing that he was putting my needs before his own regardless of how I had spoken to him before.
He shrugged. “I will win, though I jerk my arm in a way that it is not meant to be jerk when trying to swerve.”
I looked over at the other car. I was a smaller two-seater, but only the front of it seemed to have taken the damage.
“Is everyone okay?” the cab driver asked the man when he got out of the car and approached.
“What do you think? Look at my car, man! What were you thinkin’, runnin’ through a red? Man, there’s a reason they have the lights!” he exclaimed, clearly angry and more worried about his car than anything else.
I put on my business front and stepped forward. “It is my fault, sir. I wanted him to make the yellow light because I needed to catch my plane. It would have been quicker to wait, though.”
“You’re darn right! Is there somethin’ wrong with you, lady?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Rushing, I guess. Because you’re apparently perfect, you’ve never had to rush to get somewhere, though. I guess you wouldn’t understand. Now, how about you check to make sure that the lady in your car is okay?” I said, irritated by his attitude. Suddenly I felt like defending the driver that I had been yelling at just moments before. There was a reason that they called it an “accident.”
“She’s fine. I made her stay in the car because she’ll just cause more trouble for us all.”
“She was involved as I was, so she deserves to be discussing this….Arguing isn’t going to get us anywhere. We need to have the cars towed and figure out how to pay for the damage.”
“You’ll pay every penny, missy,” the man hissed at me, anger raging in his eyes.
I shook my head. “We’ll discuss it later. Let’s get the cars out of the intersection first.”
The cab driver was already on his cell phone with somebody (I guessed the police or a towing company). He hung up after a few moments and said that he had the towing taken care of. It would be left to his insurance company and the man’s insurance company to help negotiate who would pay for what.
“How much would you estimate the damage is for each car?” I asked hesitantly. I knew that the driver had run a red because I had been pushing him before. Knowing that, I knew that he would end up with bulk of the charges. I had a feeling that he would be unable to pay it. In a way, I felt responsible to help him because I was more than capable of paying for everything.
He shook his head. “If it is simply on the outside, it will not be a big deal. The interior damage will be the issue. Replacing parts and repairing everything will be where the major prices come in.”
I nodded, not wanting to offer anything until there was a definite figure known. Two tow trucks finally did come, and we all went down to the closest car repair shop.
The mechanic there gave us an estimate, and the cab driver had been right. Most of the damage was on the exterior and was not a big deal. More paint would definitely be needed, and the massive dents would have to be popped back out. Each car needed a few minor parts, however, and those minor parts bumped up the price.
I walked over to the mechanic. “Can you give us an exact price?”
He shook his head. “Not yet. We need to see how much the paint and parts will cost. The estimate will be very close, though.”
I pulled my checkbook out and wrote up a check for the estimate. “Can you two settle the difference if it goes over?” I asked, glancing at the cab driver and the other man.
“Miss, please, no…,” the cab driver said, looking shocked that I would offer to pay for a thing, let alone for the damages.
“That really isn’t necessary,” the other driver said, looking surprised as well.
“If I hadn’t prodded to go through the light, none of this would have happened. However, if the price is more than this, I won’t know. If I pay for the bulk, can you two settle the difference?” I asked again, and the two men nodded silently.
I handed the check to the mechanic. “Please make it as if the accident never happen.”
He took the check and nodded. He and I walked into the main building so that he could process the check, and he gave me a curious look. “How does a lady like you just throw money like that at a cab driver and a snobby nobody?”
I shrugged. “It was my fault.”
“How does a lady younger than the both of them afford to pay for the repairs as if it’s no big deal, though?”
I shook my head. “It’s a long story. To put it short, I have done well.”
He nodded, though he still looked confused. That must have been an obvious. Most people wouldn’t just give someone a free car repair, though.
I stepped outside and dialed my boss’ cell phone number. (My boss was also my fiancée. I guess that having connections probably helped the whole “doing well” thing.)
“Hey, you’re supposed to be in the air right now,” he said when he picked up.
“I know. I’m going to miss the meeting.”
“Why? Is everything okay?” Concern arose in his voice when he said that.
“Honey, it’s fine. I woke up late and was rushing. I rushed my cab driver, and we got into an accident. I…”
“Accident? Are you okay? Should I fly out there?” he asked, cutting me off.
“No, no, I’m fine. It’s only the cars that got wrecked aside from the cab driver’s sprained wrist. I missed the flight, though. And I probably won’t get in until late tonight or even tomorrow morning.”
“Do you want me to call the airline and buy another ticket?”
“That’d be really helpful, yeah. I’m so sorry that I’m going to miss the meeting. I was really trying to get to the airport in time.”
“It’s okay. I’m just glad that you didn’t get hurt. I’ll call you back after I talk with the airline.”
“I love you.”
“Love you, too. Talk to you in a few.” I hung up and walked over to the cab driver and the “snobby nobody.”
“Thank you very much, miss,” the cab driver said, sounding sincerely grateful.
“It’s all okay. You need to take care of your arm, and you need to make sure that your car is okay,” I said, looking at the other man.
“Thank you,” he muttered, and couldn’t tell if he was still in shock or if showing gratitude was foreign to him.
I got a call back, and my fiancée said that there were no direct flights until the morning. So, I settled on going back to the hotel and staying there for another night. I was still able to get another room when I went back to the hotel, and I made sure that I had a wakeup call for the next morning. Though it was barely past 9 o’clock in the morning, I went into the room and settled in for a nap. I woke up groggily to the ringing of the phone, but it was not the hotel phone. My cell phone was ringing in my purse, and I quickly went over and picked it up.
“Hello?” I said through a stifled yawn.
“Turn on the news, honey,” my fiancée said, and there was definite fear in his voice. Startled by the urgency, I turned on the TV and flipped to the news. What I saw on the television had me staring at the screen, stunned.
“Is this happening?” I asked, swallowing hard.
“I can see the smoke from here.”
The Twin Towers, only blocks away from where I worked, had smoke pouring out of their sides. I didn’t dare to turn up the volume, so I read the ticker below the horrifying image.
“Do you still have you ticket?” my fiancée asked, and it took me a moment to recollect my thoughts.
“Yeah…hold on.” I stood up and rustled through the contents in my purse. I found the ticket and pulled it out. “I have it out.”
“What plane does it say you were supposed to board?”
I gave him the number, and I did not get a response.
“Are you there?” I asked after a moment.
“They just gave us what planes crashed into the buildings…You were supposed to be on one of those planes, honey,” he whispered, and I had to sit down on the bed.
I had made such a fuss about waking up late and getting into an accident. Now, I realized that those unpleasant experiences had saved my life.
I took multiple buses and rental cars the next day to get back home. The atmosphere of the city was so much different from when I had left.
From that Tuesday morning on, I was never the same. I now do not take life for granted, and I know that everything happens for a reason. Because I missed my plane, I am alive today.