Okay, so it's time for me to tell my much-anticipated story about my trip to the South Dakota wedding. Why is it much-anticipated? Because I told you about it two posts ago, silly! Even if you haven't been anticipating it, please pretend for my sake. Here goes!
First of all, I thought I was being brilliant when I booked my two flights to South Dakota through two separate airlines, since I would be flying through Dallas instead of Chicago and weather would be less of an issue. So, there I was, sitting in the Tulsa airport at my terminal an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave for Dallas, feeling quite smug at my travel brilliance. Suddenly, as I was looking at my boarding pass, I had that ugly sinking feeling in my stomach. What brought about the feeling? Two little words: Dallas Love. After a brief conversation with the friendly Southwest Airlines employees, it became clear that I was flying into Dallas Love Airport and out of Dallas Fort Worth. I no longer felt brilliant as I realized that I had about an hour and a half between flights to get all the way across Dallas to DFW after I landed at Dallas Love. My only chance was to catch a shuttle from one airport to the other and hope I could get on a standby flight six hours after my regularly scheduled flight, since there was little to no chance of making the connection. I've only ever driven through Dallas and was terrified at the idea of having to trust a stranger to get me to my next flight on time in an unfamiliar city. I have honestly never felt so nauseated in my entire life.
I was a hot mess on my flight from Tulsa to Dallas, sitting straight as a board between two other passengers, trying to focus on praying instead of worrying. The girl sitting to my left was a pro at travel and assured me that it was possible to make my connection at DFW. I was thankful for the distraction of chatting about life with her, since it gave me less time to freak out.
When we landed fifteen minutes earlier than expected in Dallas, my purple wheely bag and I hit the ground running. After a few confusing conversations with airport employees, I located a shuttle in the airport parking lot. However, after about five minutes, it became clear that this driver was not going to DFW and that another shuttle may not show up for quite a while. The driver suggested I take a taxi instead. Me? Take a taxi? Across Dallas? By myself? Was he crazy?! I wanted to dissolve into tears, but as I had no time for crying, I marched over to the mint-colored taxi sitting at the front of the line and hurriedly asked the driver to take me to the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. I have never before been as thankful for the short stent during which my dad worked as a taxi driver as I was in that moment. I had heard enough stories to know how a taxi ride worked in theory, so I felt quite experienced as I politely asked the driver to not long-haul me because I was trying to catch a flight and needed to be taken on the most direct route to DFW. He spoke in a thick accent, which meant a lot of repeated questions. After three tries, I realized he was asking me what terminal and gate my flight was taking off from, so I promptly called the 1-800 number for American on my boarding pass and passed the information on to my taxi driver, whom I later discovered was from Ethiopia.
As we neared the airport, I attempted with shaky hands to remove my license from my wallet so I would have it ready when I reached security. In the process, all of the contents of my wallet spilled onto the floor of the cab. At that point we had reached the terminal and it was time for me to pay the driver. I handed him all of my cash and my new credit card to cover the balance as I scooped up the rest of my cards from the floorboard of the car. I jumped out of the cab and hurried to the security line, which took me a total of three minutes to clear. When I reached my gate with a solid 45 minutes to spare before my next flight (thank the Lord!), I sorted through the contents of my wallet to discover that my debit card had been left behind in the taxi. Terrific. I called my mother, whom I hadn't planned on telling my little adventure until later. She quickly hung up with me and called the bank to put a hold on my card in case the Ethiopian or a later passenger got credit-card happy. I was so thankful that I had applied for and received my first credit card only a few weeks before, or I wouldn't have had any way of paying for anything for the rest of my trip, including the taxi ride back from DFW to Love on my way home. I landed in Sioux Falls precisely on time and was still able to take part in some of the pre-wedding activities.
So, there you have it. I set out for a calm, straight-forward trip to support Mariah on her wedding day and ended up with a big adventure. Who would have thought that a trip to Mitchell, South Dakota could end up being so exciting?! I know now a thing or two more about Dallas: it has two airports, and Ethiopian taxi drivers are quite common (my driver on the way back was from Ethiopia as well). I hope you were able to get a small laugh out of my harried adventure; I sure did! The moral of the story: God is bigger than the circumstances and is able to work good in seemingly overwhelming situations!