Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Missing Plane-Part I

The day started out like any other. Cooking, cleaning, schooling, karate... Then I got the e-mail. "Hey Z, there is military wife stationed in Guam who is on her way back to the east coast and needs help getting from the Hickam passenger terminal to Honolulu International. Can you help her? Oh, by the way, she's traveling with 4 children (including 18 month old twins) and she's pregnant! And I don't know when she'll take off or land and she doesn't have a cell phone."

I enthusiastically accepted the challenge for several reasons. 1) It's nice now and then to break up the monotony of homeschooling: "Let's recite the second declension male nouns from our vocabulary list this week, kids." 2) My husband is very smart about locating airplanes, which would make this job a piece of cake. 3) I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of another person's kindness, so I appreciate the opportunity to "spread some love around." 4) Jesus gave so much to me, a ride to the airport is the least I could do.

My friend promised to call or e-mail when she knew more, and I promised to check my e-mail periodically throughout the night. It was around 3:00 when I read in an e-mail that the plane took off around 10:00. The flight from Guam to Hawaii is one that my husband flies frequently, so I figured they would land between 5:00 and 6:00. I called the pax terminal at Hickam and listened to the recording. Those of you who fly Space-A are familiar with the drill. Push 1 general information...push 2 for arrivals...push 3 for departures... The only missions that were scheduled to land were a flight from Korea coming in at 4:00am, and a flight from Okinawa landing at 8:00.

I got on the phone to my very smart husband who was in Tucson for a conference and asked if maybe the flight from Okinawa had been in Guam first. He confirmed that it had been in Guam first, but it left Guam 20 hours ago and there were only 2 registered passengers on board. He reported that he didn't see any other flights from Guam in the air. So, not knowing what else to do, I showered, got dressed, and drove to Hickam. I thought that on the off chance that the flight DID arrive at 6:00-ish, I should probably be there to greet this woman and her children. If it were me, I knew I would be terrified and exhausted after traveling so long with 4 children and not having anyone there at the airport as planned. I brought a book along, though, and was actually looking forward to the opportunity to sit and read, which I never get to do at home.