It all started out with me going to New York City to spend some time with my sister Steph, her husband Anthony, and their baby Benjamin. I drove the 4-5 hours down to Salt Lake (well, all the way down to the Provo area to have dinner with my friend Ryan's family with Leah and Sara), and then flew out of SLC at around 1:20 AM. My flight was supposed to leave at 11:15 PM on Friday, but got delayed until 1:20 AM Saturday morning. It was terrible. But, nevertheless, I made it to the JFK airport at 7:30 AM New York time. I made it to the hotel near Times Square at around 8 AM. I had a wonderful time in New York with my family. We went everywhere! My sister used to live there, so she knew where all of the great food places were, where the best stores were, and where the best places were to go to. It was awesome. Then it was time to go home on Tuesday afternoon.
We were running very late. My flight back home was at 5:20 PM, and Steph and Anth's flight was at 4:59 PM to go to Minneapolis (his family lives in Cincinnati, so they were going there for the holidays). It was about 3:30 by the time we were trying to catch a cab, which was not good because there was a lot of traffic, and no one wanted to drive to the La Guardia Airport which was located in Queens. I had anticipated getting in a mini-van cab together to drive to the airport because that's all that would fit all of our luggage together, but we couldn't find one in time, so we had to take two separate cabs. I was terrified; I HATE cabs, especially riding in them alone. There's just something about them that I get a little nervous about. So, Steph flags down one cab, they put all their stuff in it, and Anthony turns to me, tells me to go down the street a little bit to this movie theater and tells me I will be able to catch a cab down there. They got in the cab, left, and I walked down the street by myself. I was dead scared. It probably took me around 15 minutes to catch a cab, and even then, the cab driver was very reluctant to take me to the airport. I just basically looked at him and begged, "Pleeeaaasssee." So, the guy took me to La Guardia; I got there at about 4:20 PM. I hadn't printed out my boarding pass or anything, and I needed to check a bag on, so I stood in the line for about 20 minutes, got to the front, the lady printed out my boarding pass, started helping me with my bag, and then looked at the time. She told me I needed to HURRY through security, and run to my gate or else I might not make it. So I did just as she told me. Once I got to my gate, they were already boarding, so I just went straight on to the plane. It was around 5 PM when I sat down. The captain started talking to us a few minutes later and said that we were going to have to sit in the plane at the gate for another hour, and that even when we taxied out onto the tarmac, our expected departure time wasn't until 8 PM! It was horrible! I was worried about this because I had a layover at the Chicago Ohare airport. I was certain that I was going to miss it, and I was frantically on the phone with my family back at home trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. Mind you, this was my second time flying alone, and I was completely stressed out. So at about 6 PM, we started to taxi out. We sat out on the tarmac for another hour, and then we finally took off at 7:05 PM. I got to Chicago at 8:30 PM Chicago time, and while on the plane, heard that my flight to LAX had been delayed until 9:45 PM, rather than the original departure time of 8:25. I was soooo happy! So, once I got off the plane, I checked the board to see the status of my flight, and it had been delayed even more, until 11 PM. That was still alright with me, I was just happy to have made my flight. So I went to my gate, and sat there until 11. Finally, over the PA, the gate agent told us that our flight was going to be delayed until 11:50 PM because we were waiting for another flight to get in so we could use that crew to take us home. So they boarded us onto the plane. At 11:55, the gate agent came onto the plane and said, "Thank you for flying American Airlines. Unfortunately, I have some bad news. The captain and first mate of the other flight refused this flight, so you all are stuck here in Chicago for the night. We have voucher tickets for you, you can take a shuttle to a hotel that we will pay for you to stay in. Your flight leaves tomorrow morning at 8 AM, same gate." I was FURIOUS! And completely stressed out! I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do, and I knew that I was totally on my own. I realized during this time that I do not do very well on my own. I stress out too much. But, I held myself together throughout this whole experience so far. I got off the plane, got my voucher ticket, and followed the signs to the bus shuttle, while on the phone with my mom explaining the situation. I found the shuttle, which surprisingly was pretty difficult to find. When I finally got to the hotel, I went to my room, threw my stuff down, closed the door, and immediately started bawling my eyes out. It was the first time I had broken down in the entire day, although there were times where I felt like I wanted to earlier. I guess I just needed to get it all out. I cried for probably a few minutes, and then immediately called my mom. She told me she felt so helpless because all she could do was listen to me. She couldn't really help me, and I was so upset because I knew I was all on my own. She kept telling me I wasn't really alone, and that I needed to pray for comfort. I knew she was right, and after about 20 minutes on the phone, I hung up and got into the big King-size bed waiting for me. But now, I was really alone in this big city. No one to talk to now, and now I had my thoughts haunting me basically. I started worrying that I was going to either not wake up in time, or miss my flight or something along those lines. So I said a prayer. It comforted me a little bit. I started to fall asleep when Greg Livingston called me. It was the first time I'd talked to him on the phone since we had left Rexburg. He was on a cruise in Hawaii, and I was so happy to hear from him! He got my mind off of my situation, and I started to be happy again. We talked for a while, and then I finally got to sleep at around 3 AM. I woke up at 5 AM, and got to the airport at about 5:45. When I got to my gate, I went up to the lady at the counter and asked her if I was in the right place. She told me that my flight was at a different gate, across terminals. I thought this strange, but followed what she said. When I got to the other gate, I asked if I was now in the right place. The guy told me I had to go back to the original gate. So, as I headed back over there, I went up to another gate agent and asked where my flight was. He directed me to the other gate, not the original one. I explained to him my situation, and he got on the phone, and figured out that I needed to go back to the original gate. Apparently the airport made a new flight with the same number as mine for the next day, because they assumed that my flight was already gone. So basically, my morning flight that was rescheduled just wasn't known about, and there was a new flight already created, if that makes sense. So I went back to the original gate, and some random 30-something year old guy came and sat next to me. He was nice enough, but kind of weirded me out a little. He was... I guess you could say flirty? But it wasn't over-kill. It was actually really nice to have someone lighten the mood. I felt more comfortable after the fiasco I had been through. Our flight left on time, and I got to LAX at 10:30 AM. I was sooo happy to see my mom, dad, and sister when the picked me up. It was a loooong and overwhelming process, but I made it home!