“Now she was lovely,” I commented as I sidled up nervously to the gate agent, gesturing towards my predecessor in line.
“How do you stand it?”
She finished typing and hit “enter” with a loud click.
She smiled—yes, it actually qualified as a smile, though a slightly sinister one. “Or worming puppies at the Bethesda Humane Society.”
“Either way, you’re dealing with assholes,” I mugged, hoping to dazzle her with my wit.
She stared right through me. “What can I do for you?”
“We were wondering,” I mumbled, tempted to flee in terror, “if there’s a chance we could get on another flight, maybe with a partner airline.”
A look of pity flitted across her stern features.
“That seems highly unlikely, considering that all the airlines loathe and despise each other at this point.”
She sized me up for a couple of seconds. “Where’s your traveling companion?”
I pointed to Michael, who was lingering shiftily nearby.
“The tall one?”
I nodded. “Yep.”
She stared at her screen for a few moments. “Tell you what,” she began. “When we do actually get this wretched flight in the air I’m going to upgrade you gentlemen to business class.”
“Oh my god, that’s so nice,” I gushed.
She gave me one last appraising look. “Save it,” she said, not unkindly. “It’s gonna be a long, long wait.”
We got to San Juan at 6:30 p.m. We had missed our connecting flight by almost six hours.
There was still one flight to Vieques but it was full. We were stuck.
Resigned to the idea of spending the night in San Juan, we rushed back to the airline ticket counter and explained our fate, hoping at least to get a free room.
The agent typed our information into her computer at a glacial pace and said, “I sorry. Since San Juan not your final destination we don’t have no responsibility for you stay here.”
At this point, Michael moved into battle stations. He positioned himself directly in front of the diminutive woman and said, “It’s been a long day. Have a heart.”
She gazed up into his big blues eyes for a moment and said, “Excuse me.”
Ten very long minutes later she came back with her supervisor. “It okay.”
She handed Michael a voucher for the airport Days Inn.
As far as we were concerned, it could have been the Ritz.