Dear American Airlines,
I traveled from Indianapolis to Minneapolis for the Christmas holiday.
My return date was Friday, December 28, 2007. I was confirmed on #354 to Chicago and then #4135 to Indianapolis. Here's a diary summary of the morning and early afternoon:
7:03 am: Startled awake from the screams of my mother's cat, Apple; the dream that I was drowning (the air mattress had lost 42% of its air, rendering it basically a hammock); the 82 degrees of stultifying and suffocating air circulating in mother's condo.
7:12 am: Started coffee. Looked outside window and saw snow falling. Slight unease begins.
7:23 am: Give up on my mother's Internet connection that is allegedly “high-speed” but a gaggle of turtles powering the machine would have been quicker. Turned on television to Weather Channel. Chicago has something like 18” of snow on the ground. Images of weeping, stranded passengers at O'Hare appear on screen. Sweat trickles down my back (and it's not simply the tropical temperature).
7:32 am: Packing my suitcase – Apple staring at me and sneering.
7:45 am: Proud of myself for having the foresight to bring a duffel bag to ensure my large suitcase doesn't tip the 50 lb. weight limit.
7:51 am: Duffel zipper breaks. Beyond repair and/or beyond my skill set of repairing. Involuntary and impressive cursing pours out of my mouth. Mother clears her throat from her living-room recliner. Apple grinning.
7:52 – 12:15 pm: Condo windows provide evidence to unrelenting and heavy snowfall. Television declaring Chicago a Bermuda Triangle for poor bastards unfortunate enough to find themselves at O'Hare. Blue Van driver (scheduled to pick me up at 12:30 for a 3:15 flight) calls for directions. My mother, who has put 300 miles on the car she's had for three years, is unable to provide answers. Stunningly, BV Driver does NOT have GPS. I am quietly crying and, by now, shaking involuntarily. Apple openly guffawing.
12:28 pm: BV Driver shows up, but doesn't come to door. I wheel my coffin-sized suitcase and carry on and purse/tote to the van. Driveway treacherous. BV Driver weighs approximately 400+ pounds. Reluctantly heaves the suitcase into back of van.
12:29-12:58 pm: BV Driver explains he was standing outside van for five minutes before getting in because he was adjusting his leg braces. Which were the result of a hit-and-run from an elderly woman in March. She hit him, backed up, hit him again – puncturing his kidneys – waved and drove off. He called 911 himself as he lie there, passengers in van. After 45 minutes of non-ambulance response, he drove his passengers to the airport; then himself to the ER. The pending settlement is $1 million. He has six children and is engaged to his second Cambodian wife. She is 21 and wealthy – her father will be giving him a fleet limousine and $1 million when they wed. He is the favored embassy security of Cambodian dignitaries. ... His obvious delusion and erratic driving provide only a brief distraction.
1:03 pm: BV Driver “not legally allowed” to drop me off curbside (where all the other drop-off cars, vans, buses, rickshaws were clearly visible) so I schlep from van to parking garage to elevator to overhead walkway to down escalator to American Airlines check-in area.
1:11 pm: American Airlines agent (god, I wish I'd taken down her name – I promised her annual Christmas cards) smiled cheerfully and asked how I was? I replied by showing her my itinerary. “Oh,” she declared. I had only just begun blubbering and begging when she decisively and with a smile said she was going to put me on a NWA non-stop flight to Indianapolis. It's a blur, but I think I may have offered to marry her.
In short (yes, too late) your American Airlines representative turned my entire day around and the exceptional customer service I was shown is not one I will ever forget. You've gained a customer for life, and also I will relate this story and sing your praises to everyone I meet.