Last week I attended a dental continuing education conference on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.
On Thursday, I left my town at about noon and arrived at my hotel at about 10:00 pm. Each leg of my trip (no pun intended) was on time. That is not always the case when flying out of Kansas City International airport. Weather on either coast frequently disrupts (delays) travel in the center of the country.
Flying as an amputee is interesting. Each airport is configured differently. At Salt Lake City International, the walk from the gate to the baggage claim seems to be nearly a mile long. For this one-legged dude, that’s a hike. I usually stop to wipe the sweat off my brow once or twice.
Friday’s presenters at the conference were excellent. Three speakers spoke on a different topics–leadership style, tooth-colored fillings and drugs (the legal, prescription type.)
During the lunch break I had two neat experiences. Near the campus there was an open house of a newly completed facility. I decided to check things out. I rode a shuttle bus to and from the open house. On the bus ride there, I sat directly across from and facing a mom and her three year old daughter. The little girl leaned over to her mom and whispered something. I did not hear what was said, but the mom said to her, “Go ahead and ask him.” This cute girl was shy and started to try to hide behind her mom. Mom said to me, “She was wondering what happened to your leg.” I looked at the little girl, smiled and said, “I had an accident and my leg was so sick and the doctors could not fix it, so they had to remove it. They gave me this robot leg to help me.” That little girl seemed satisfied with the answer. As we were leaving the bus, the mom thanked me for explaining that to her daughter.
After completing the tour, I boarded a second bus for the return trip. Sitting on the bench to my right (my prosthesis side) was a four year old girl. She looked at my leg and finally got up the courage to ask, “Excuse me sir, what happened to your leg?” (Go figure). To which I gave her the same answer I did to the other girl about an hour earlier. She also was satisfied with the answer. Cudos to the parents of these two girls for teaching their children to be respectful and asking, without passing judgement, when seeing a person who is different.
I have a son and daughter in law who live in Salt Lake City. On Friday evening we ate dinner at Cafe Rio. Whenever I’m in Utah, I enjoy dinner there. We each had a delicious burrito. Mine was “enchilada style”, of course. If you’ve ever eaten there, you understand that request. If you enjoy Mexican food and are in the West, I highly recommend it! After about a two hour visit, I saw out of the corner of my eye a lady at the pop dispenser, staring at my leg. Go figure. My experience has been that adults stare, and when I make eye contact, they quickly look away. To avoid embarrassing them, I try not to make sudden eye contact with them. The husband of this lady told me as he walked past me that his wife works for the company that makes my prosthetic knee and foot–Freedom Innovations. She and I talked a few minutes. She was so excited to see a prosthesis she probably made, out in the public. I told her she would probably see it again soon as I was sending it back for its final check up before the warranty expires at the end of this year.
Remember that flight to my course–perfect, on time, etc. The return flight was a different story. When I got to the Salt Lake International, I found that the flight was delayed about 40 minutes, or so they thought. The inbound plane arrived and the inspection showed a part needed to be replaced. The closest part was in Phoenix–which coincidentally was my layover to Kansas City International. The flight to KC was canceled because all planes were busy. The ground crew was so helpful. They could get me to Phoenix that night and then they could book me on the first flight the next day. They offered to pay my hotel in Phoenix and gave me a $200 travel voucher for my inconvenience. I did a quick hotel reservation on booking.com, and all was well. I arrived home about 18 hours later than originally planned, but I have more experiences to share and really enjoyed the trip.
Flying, like life, can throw you for a loop at times. But I have learned to take it all in stride and enjoy the adventure. I hope you do too.
Until next time!! Enjoy life, and all its loops!!