So, the story goes something like this…I am in Eugene, Oregon on another business trip. I’ve finished w/ my customer for the day and settled into the hotel for the night. The Hilton Eugene, which I am staying at, is near a noisy train so I have earplugs in (provided by the hotel). I never wear earplugs, but the trains were bad.
This means I DO NOT HEAR my very pregnant wife calling me at 2AM to inform me she’s went into labor – 2 weeks early. When I finally wake up at 6:30 in the morning I see I have about 40 missed calls, email, Facebook messages, etc.
After figuring out what was going on, I attempt to get out of Eugene, which is no small task. I finally settle on an Alaska Airlines (flown by Horizon Air) flight out of Portland that is just over 2 hours away (on a rush hour morning)…I have about 2 hours to make it, so I chance it (but book a backup flight just in case).
After literally driving 90-100mph at times, through fog, traffic, passing on the shoulder, running countless red lights, and calling ahead to the rental car company to get an expedited drop off (you rock National!), a mad dash through security, I make it to the gate. Just in time. They are already halfway through the boarding process.
But I realize that in my haste I left the projector I was carrying for work at the check-in counter. With 10 minutes left to board, I explain it to the gate agent, who stops deplaning the inbound plane, puts off boarding our flight, and personally goes and retrieves my $700.00 projector. He called first, but the ticket agent couldn’t find it so he went himself. Tom at Horizon Air in Portland is my hero!
After the nervous 2 hour flight, my fellow passengers let me deplane first (and cheer me as I clamber down the stairs of our small plane). I race to my car and proceed to do another NASCAR race on my way from the ONT airport to the hospital. While weaving in and out of traffic, I notice that I am low on gas…but figure I should be ok.
As I got a close to the hospital (about 5 mins away) I give my wife a quick call and she mentioned she was essentially ready to go…10 minutes or less and she’s having the baby. And, I think I am home free…gonna just make it. However, while making a left turn off the freeway my car runs out of gas (literally)…and it’s on a bridge. Literally on the overpass. Dead. No more go.
I can see the hospital. I am so close! But, I am not missing this though, so I abandon my car on the overpass it was stopped on (with no shoulder to speak of, so I am jutting out in traffic), and set off on a dead sprint for about a mile or two to the hospital in dress shoes, jeans, and dress shirt. I am weaving through traffic (on foot), cutting through a field of weeds waist high, and running uphill, in 80plus degree weather…(this is all true, btw).
I finally arrive at the hospital room profusely sweating and out of breath. I walk into the room, kiss my wife, shake the Doc’s hand, and he say’s “grab a leg” – two minutes later (literally, no joke), my 4th child and 2nd daughter is born. Healthy and all! Talk about cutting it close! But I made it. What an adventure!
No other business trip has been so exciting. And I have to tell you all that being a business travel pro (w/ status) helped my cause. National Rental car was awesome, Alaska Airline (Horizon) was so good. I also learned never use earplugs!
PS…I followed up to Horizon and thanked them for Tom’s help. Don’t know if he ever got the thanks, but I was really appreciative.
PSS…My poor wife hung on for all that time until I got there. And to make matters worse, after our girl was born, just about every nurse in the hospital stopped by our room. Not to congratulate her, or coo over the baby, but to see the guy with the great story.
PSSS…later in the day I returned to claim my car. As luck would have it, it was in the process of being ticketed and prepped for towing. When I explained to the officer my story just shook my hand and let me go.
PS…don’t forget to check out my post entitled 101 Travel Hacks for the Business Traveler and learn how to level up your travel game.