It’s the day before I leave on vacation to Peru with my family. My Visa card was stolen the week before, and I’m desperately waiting for the replacement to come. This is the difference between a good vacation, and a stress-filled one. While I do have a MasterCard, my Visa is with ScotiaBank, which, coincidentally, is one of the major Peruvian banks. I know my Visa will work in the ATMs to draw out cash, as most companies and restaurants in Peru do not take credit cards.
To say I’m frantic with worry is an understatement. I’ve been to the bank twice, made them search through every single file that could possibly hold a wayward card. I whined to the teller manager until she called a special division of corporate to try and find the card. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. I’m finished.
So I finally decide to let it be. There’s no sense giving myself a heart attack over this. If the card doesn’t come, I’ll simply phone MasterCard, tell them I’m travelling, and hope for the best. Done. Gone.
“Hello Mrs. Dopf, we have a credit card waiting for you to pick-up.”
Seriously! The time delay between letting it go and getting the call was perhaps an hour.
I’m now at the Houston airport, in the very last row of a jam-packed airplane with less than 15 minutes to make the connecting flight to Lima, Peru. My original flight earlier today was cancelled due to mechanical issues. My carefully planned 3 hour layover is so gone.
Time is all wonky as we run through the airport. The 45 second wait (there is a clock counting down) for the train to get us from Terminal A to E is crawling along, while the time on my iPhone seems to be speeding up.
If I was frantic over the credit card, it’s nothing compared to this. I know there is only one flight a day to Peru on this airline. The other airline that flies to Peru won’t leave until the next day. I have an expensive room booked at the Lima airport, as I have an early morning flight to Cuscu the next day. Missing this flight has very expensive (in both time and money) consequences.
As it happens, there was another connecting flight to Lima that was also late, so there’s a small group of us passengers who dash up to the gate at exactly the departure time. Everyone nods and smiles to each other, knowing we’ve made it!
Except, we haven’t.
The airline crew just – and I mean JUST – closed the door and they absolutely refuse to re-open it.
I quickly size-up the other passengers’ fitness and their carry-on luggage, then bolt to the service desk to try and secure the no-doubt limited seats on the next flight. Hope fades to black as I find myself at the end of an excruciatingly long line at the customer service desk.
I just can’t calm down. As the main organizer of this vacation, it’s on me to sort it out. How do I even begin to re-book a flight from Lima to Cusco, never mind losing one of our acclimatization days at Cusco’s 11,000 feet before heading out on the four day Inka Trek.
My breath is coming in shorter and shorter lengths. I’m snapping at my family (I actually send my kids off to relax on a bench, partly so they don’t have to deal with me. My husband is not so lucky.), and my brain is reeling, unable to form coherent thoughts other than all the negative consequences of this missed flight.
One of my fellow denied passengers is an American who is getting texts from our airline. For some reason, the plane is still on the ground and take off has been delayed.
Buoyed by this information, I run over to the “Elite Passenger” customer service agent, who of course is wide open, and proudly announce this information. “Our plane is still here. We are here. Let us on.”
She refuses to help me. “If Chicago doesn’t authorize it, then there’s nothing I can do.” Really lady? Nothing? Nope.
I dejectedly slouch back to my place at the back of the line. An hour later and I’m almost at the front of the line. Striking up conversations with those around me, I discover several other Lima-bound passengers in line. The American tells us the plane is still on the ground. Frustrated beyond all rational reason, I’m either going to blow, or…
I say to my husband – “I’m done. I don’t care what happens. At worst, we’ll spend the night here and figure it out in the morning.”
“Finally,” my husband breathes quietly. Just like that, I am at peace. I finally realize the situation is out of my hands. I have no control over the airline or it’s crazy policies. I can’t force the ground crew to let us on the plane. I feel very calm, and it is almost surreal, as if I am watching someone else’s drama unfold.
A few minutes later, several of the Lima passengers in line with us start talking with one customer service agent. She is shocked that not only are all of us here, but so is our airplane! “Well, this is ridiculous,” she says, and picks up the phone. She calls over to our gate and asks the crew to let us on the plane.
That’s it. It was done. Hours of running around, begging, sweating, and cajoling, and it was taken care of with one single call.
Yeah I know. I didn’t get the message the first time around, so I was given an opportunity to learn it again. The very next day… Sigh.
When he wrote the song “Let It Be,” Paul McCartney was worried about the possible break-up of The Beatles, and was keenly aware that everyone else in the band had a partner except for him. Paul’s mother died when he was 14, and he missed her dearly, especially when he was troubled. One night he dreamed of his mother Mary (his mom’s name, not the Virgin Mary), and she gave him the very wise words of “Let it be.”
For those with a religious background, you may know the saying “Let go and let God.” However you want to look at it, it’s an acknowledgement that there is a higher power, and that higher power has a plan.
If only we’d get out of the way, stop worrying or fretting, and allow a small miracle to happen.
It is no coincidence that both my issues were solved within hours of mentally, emotionally and physically letting it be. There was not a cell in my body that cared one way or the other how it turned out.
I’m not saying this is an easy place to get to, but ironically perhaps, it’s a lot easier to get there in times of great stress. Perhaps when there really is no other solution than to simply let it be.