Getting stuck in unfamiliar cities while traveling is never fun or convenient. Having a connection somewhere is helpful. Having a number of friends and family ready to help out with food, shelter and comfort is….heart warming. Facebook came through the way I idealistically feel like the social network “should” be, a way to connect to people you know, have them share back, and in this case, be in the position to help. I have family ties in Pittsburgh, PA as well as a number of friends from high school and Penn State. When I posted that I was probably going to get delayed in Pittsburgh, people started to reply back with offers of a bed, dinner, a place to chill and the “my door is always open” kind of comments. Ultimately, I did not end up even IN Pittsburgh, but would have been well taken care of nonetheless.
Like thousands of other travelers last week dealing with the nuisance of the nor’easter on East Coast of the US, I took a goofy path home from Dallas on Wednesday into Thursday. I touched down in Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Harrisburg, drove a rental car to the Philly airport, finally into my own car, drove 90 minutes to my house and ended up stuck in my driveway (below).
I was trying to get to Pittsburgh from St. Louis (through Cleveland), and my plan was to either rent a car and drive to Philly, take Amtrak to Philly or hop a Greyhound bus. All three options weren’t ideal, but they were options. Fortunately, when I stepped off the plane in Cleveland, I saw a flight leaving for Harrisburg in 45 minutes. I waited in the United line where every traveler was trying to rebook flights to get to Charlotte. I didn’t need that miracle, just a seat to the PA state capital. Ended up I didn’t even need luck. There were 9 seats left on a small twin turbo prop. Pam from United Customer Service made my day.
A quick 2 hour drive to the Philly airport to return a rental car from Harrisburg nearly completed a 30 hour travel experience. Then I drove my own car home, encountering 22″ of snow in Bucks County and my driveway above. As I turned in, I lost control of the car and got it stuck. So, I grabbed my bags and walked up the driveway, laughing at the experience and the fact I was home, even if I didn’t get my car in the garage.
To my family and friends in Pittsburgh, I love you and thank you for being kind and generous in your offers and encouragement. Some people think Facebook is silly or a waste of time. Sometimes, I don’t disagree. But this past week, Facebook was the social network I needed to stay connected.