I forgot to charge my cell phone, he said

Trip Start Sep 04, 2010
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Saturday, September 4, 2010

The plan was dang nigh perfect. Dad leaves him at the Security checkpoint at SeaTac airport. He gets xrayed and baggage-searched (shoes off, belt off, no more than 3 oz of liquid) and makes it to the Delta gate uneventfully.

He calls me from the gate. "Do I have to show my boarding pass?" I say yes. That's why it's called a boarding pass.

He calls me again. "I've got some food. A lot of people around me are speaking Japanese."

Get on the right plane, I reply. You are flying to Atlanta, not Japan.

He calls me again. "I'm getting on the plane now."

Ah, I relax. I load my car and say goodbye to the cats and start driving. Birmingham to Atlanta. It will take him 5 hours of flying from Seattle. It will take me 3 hours of driving. But all points will converge at Atlanta Gate.

I check into the motel. I'm near the airport. In fact, I'm in the direct flight path. Hmmmm. His plane is due at 10 PM. I ride the shuttle over, grab a bite to eat. I watch the boards.

Call me when you get off the plane. That was the plan.

Hmm, the board says the plane from Seattle landed at 9:15 PM. It is 9:30 and he hasn't called me. Where is he?

I stand at the Arrivals spot, behind the rope with other hopefuls. I call his cell phone. Where is my grandkid? No answer.

Did he get on the plane to Japan instead? I check the board again. Same message. His plane is on the ground, and has been for a while.

Suddenly, a crowd of people come up the escalator, all speaking Japanese. I watch, and wait. I call him again. No answer.

Where is my grandson?

A slender young man, with facial hair, appears in my view. Dark headed, a bag in tow that I recognize, because I sent it, for a gift. He smiles, a casual smile. Cool dude, you see.

"I forgot to charge my cell phone before I left home," he said. "My battery is dead."

I don't care, Matt is here! The mystery of the plane? "We landed 45 minutes early," says Matt, " but there was no gate available for us, so we had to wait on the runway."

Let's get some pizza, they don't serve much on Delta planes.
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