Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Always have a backup plan

No matter what you do or where you are you always need a back up plan or two or three.  Today was a good example of if it could go wrong it did.  It was also a great day because everything worked out perfectly fine, I completed my project, and I got home earlier than if everything went as planned.

Yesterday afternoon I was told I needed to go to a meeting an hour or so outside of San Diego.  A travel freeze exemption was granted so I could attend this meeting.  It was for a five million dollar project that had hit a snag.  If I couldn't come up with a solution it would turn into a million dollar payoff and the project would be postponed.  I was confident that I could make everyone happy. 

I called the travel agent who booked a flight from Fresno to LA to San Diego.  I was going to rent a car for my time down there.  I had to leave the house around 4 in the morning.  I called San Diego sister and planned on meeting her for a late breakfast before my meeting. 

Grandson wasn't happy that I was leaving until I told him that I'd wake him up and he could get up over an hour earlier than normal.  I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare which was good because the line to get through security was a lot longer than normal.  With about 10 people in front of me they called for a bunch of passengers for my plane, me included.  Not a problem.  I got through security and headed to my gate as they were calling my name again. 

Problem...I went to the wrong gate and by the time I realized it I missed my plane.  I've never missed a plane due to my stupidity!  I called the travel agent at 6 in the morning.  I missed my plane, can you get me on another?  I have to be at my meeting at 1:30.  The travel agent said everything was booked according to her screen.  I asked the person at the counter at the airport.  She could put me on standby.  That won't work.  I have to get there by 1:30.  If I don't get there the project gets postponed and we have to pay a penalty.  It's a million dollar issue. I can drive, it's a seven hour drive and I have 7 1/2 hours, so I hopped into my fully fueled truck and headed down the road.  The truck was full of food, clothing, fuel, and a weapon or two.  I was ready to go.

As I drove out of the airport I called the travel agent.  It was now 6:30 in the morning.  I'm sure they weren't thrilled with me!  Can you get me on a flight from Visalia, Bakersfield, or Burbank since I'm going to pass those airports on the way down?  I got a call back.  Yes Bakersfield will get you to San Diego.  Your car will be available once you get down there.  So I drove to the Bakersfield airport, checked in through security once again and I was on my way.  The travel agent called again to say I couldn't get a flight back today.  How about if I drive the rental car back from San Diego to Bakersfield, pick up my truck in Bakersfield and drive home?  Sure, why not?

I got to San Diego, picked up the car, drove to the meeting, got everyone to agree, drove back to Bakersfield, swapped out the vehicle, then drove home.  I got home over 30 minutes earlier than if I had flown home.

Why am I telling you this?  By not paying attention to a small detail (what gate I was supposed to go to) I had problem after problem after problem that needed to be solved.  Fortunately I had a good travel agent who was able to help me out, although if that didn't work I would have just driven.  I didn't need to worry about the cost so changing plans at the last minute wasn't an issue.  I was instantly able to come up with a back up plan and a back up plan for that back up plan.  My plans, which were so set in stone yesterday afternoon, became very very fluid.

I learned a good lesson that not paying attention to just one small detail can cause a tidal wave of problems. This was only a monetary problem, it wasn't a medical or safety issue.   All turned out just fine. 


  1. I wonder about such events though when a person doesn't have money, or at least enough money to fix the problem. Your ability to drive, and the mindset to think of driving seems to be the best decision of the day.

  2. It is difficult to do some things when money is an issue. In this case money wasn't an issue as long as I got to the meeting. Funny thing about it was that it ended up cheaper to do it the way I did rather than fly back. One thing that I've always done is put my vehicle maintanence high on the list of things that must be taken care of. I never want to have to worry that my vehicle won't get me somewhere, especially if TSHTF.