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Running the obstacle course is sometimes all a day’s work
 
Was the trip to World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., meant to be? I’m not so sure.

I was nearly packed and ready to go when I decided to run some errands. But getting stranded at Walmart was not on my “to do” list. After Luke rescued me, I came home, finished packing, loaded the car and I was off to Metro … without my folder full of information for my trip.

Luckily, I wasn’t too far from home and there was plenty of time to go back and get it. Getting to the airport was painless and checking my bags was even easier. Seventeen steps from security, I suddenly remembered I had forgotten my credit card.

I began to feel hot flashes race through me as I thought about needing that credit card to get my rental car, get a hotel room – basically, that little piece of plastic was the difference between being a bum in California and anything else. I had to have it.
Who should I call? Who can bring it? Will they have time? What if they don’t get here? Why don’t I remember important details? After 20 questions to myself, I put a plan in motion and my son would drive my credit card to the airport.

But time was short and I was nervous. Wanting someone to reassure me everything was going to work out, I went to a security guard. She looked like the kind of woman who would stand in front of a plane and say, “Nope, you can’t go until Melissa gets her credit card!”

And she was. I told her my predicament and Annette instantly said, “There’s plenty of time but if you need me, here’s my number and once you get your credit card, I’ll sit your butt down in a wheelchair and we’ll zip you right through security, don’t you worry about a thing!”

I wanted to hug her, but I refrained. Instead I thanked her profusely and sat down and waited and waited and waited some more.

Thinking I could just tell the airlines I might be a little late and they would hold up an entire flight of people for me, I found out differently. I told the airline attendant my problem and he said, I’m sorry, ma’am, but you’ll have to be on that flight 15 minutes before it leaves or the doors will close.”

Sitting back down, I watched people, prayed, texted and worried. And then I wondered if I was really supposed to go. Why was this happening? What purpose did it serve?

It was five minutes before the doors would close and Luke was still not there, and I was still not through security. My hopes of getting on this flight looked pretty dim. Really dim. Panic struck as I heard my name being paged: “Melissa Hart, please report to Gate B15.”
I could see the gate on the other side of security, but I couldn’t get there. I tried to get one of the security people to run over there and tell them I was coming, but he just looked at me and smiled.
Luke called, heading up the road to the airport. He had never driven to the airport, and this was all foreign to him. I directed him carefully as he got closer. I got in line for security and as I was walking through, I was flagging Luke down.

Suddenly, he burst through the doors, ducked under the security ropes and, with a big smile, he handed me the credit card. I said, “THANK YOU, LUKIE!”

I ran over, pulled off my boots, took off my belt, peeled off my scarf, pulled all the stuff out of my pockets and threw them into a bin. Then I threw my bag into another bin and waited to go through the magic scanner.

I passed through and waited for my stuff and when my bag went through, I was ready to pull it off. They said, “Ma’am, do you have a laptop in your bag?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Oh, well we have to take it out and re-scan it.”

“What? But my plane is about to leave! The gate is right there, they’ve been paging me – can I just run over and tell her I’m coming?”

“No ma’am, we like for you to stay with your things.”

“But, really? It’s just right there …”

Then I decided to take matters into my own hands. I did something that would have embarrassed anyone who knew me. But since no one there knew me, I didn’t care.

With security guards and policemen all around me, I ran to the edge of security, let out a loud whistle to get the attendant’s attention and yelled, “I’m Melissa Hart, I’m coming, wait for me!”
I turned around and the security guards were laughing at me. I said, “I know, I’m crazy, you probably get people like me all the time, don’t you?”

The big, bald, tough-looking security guard who was now nearly bent over with laughter said, “No, I’ve never heard anyone whistle like that in an airport. That’s quite a whistle you’ve got; you must do it a lot.”

Pulling my boots back on, I said, “I have four kids – sometimes that’s the only way to get their attention.”

I picked up my belongings and ran, and the security guard said,
“Ma’am, don’t’ forget your laptop!”

As I ran up to the attendant, I thanked her for waiting; she smiled and sent me on my way to the door of the plane, where a pilot and two flight attendants were waiting for me with a smile. As I apologized, one flight attendant looked at me and said, “What’s your name?”

I replied, “Melissa Hart.”

She smiled and said, “Melissa is here, now we can go.”

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Those with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.
2/21/2013