Long before a handful of religious "hatefuls" schemed to take down the Twin Towers, we had a "run-in" with American Airlines and their check-in system. Unlike the "nitwits" who acted like American's check-in ladies, I can honestly tell you that it wasn't that easy to get on one of their planes. So, ... here is my story, only difference is, this actually happened.
As an "In Home Short Term Delinquent Shelter," the juvenile judge had a run-away teenager sent to our house. She was 16 years old. The teen had a boyfriend who was much older than her, and he owned a decent sized rap sheet. Her parents wanted her back home, immediately, if not sooner.
It seems her boyfriend's cousin was getting married so she up and walked out of their house, school, and state and ended up down here. The girl, also, had planned on staying in Oklahoma with her boyfriend. The juvenile workers had to wait two days, to get the tickets, and I was supposed to get her on the American Airlines the next day at 2 PM.
We arrived in plenty of time and, with my girl in tow, we went to the check-in line. It was our turn.
"Let me see your ticket." She reads the ticket information and looks at the girl.
"Can I have some ID, please; something with your picture on it."
"I don't have an ID." The teenager wore short jeans that were cut-off just below her buttocks and her tank top, hit her just under her breasts.
"Then we can't let you on. We don't know if this ticket is actually yours, and we need proof of identification."
"I don't have any," the girl repeated. A big problem! Anybody who looked at her, could tell she wasn't hiding a bill-fold, a purse, or an ID. Sooo, Brother Dale takes action.
"Come over here, " I ordered the check-in lady. "This girl is a runaway, and she will be on that plane. When she lands in Indiana, her parents will be waiting for her. Your job is to get her on that plane and make sure she doesn't get off the plane until the plane lands in Indiana."
So, ... do you think the check-in ladies got it?
Better believe it. They stamped her ticket, and one of them walked us to our terminal. The lady at the terminal had been notified. So we were treated like First Class. When the plane was ready for passengers, the ticket lady made sure we were boarded first. Well, ... not so fast. They let her on, and told me that I COULDN"T get on, since I didn't have a ticket.
I pulled the ticket taker aside and said, "Listen, I have promised this girl that I will take pictures of her in the inside of the cockpit with the pilots, and I am going to keep that promise." I had taken pictures of her walking into Will Rogers Airport, took pictures of her at the check in, and took pictures of her looking at planes at the terminal. My way or the highway!
Yep, ... they let me in, and the pilots were great, and I took some great pictures of her in cockpit. This was long before digitals. That was it. They compromised and let me in just behind the pilots, and I left. Then I took pictures of the plane flying out, into the skies.
Once I had the film developed, I sent one set to their address, and we kept the other set. My address was on the envelope, so I "kind of" expected to get a card or a telephone thank you. They didn't. So I called them to see if she got home safely and if they received the envelope. Daddy was not nice to me, a guy who did him a favor.
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