Planes, Trains and Automobiles

2004 June 5
by Scott

I had to go to New Hampsire to meet with a client, and went to Atlanta to watch some friends play in the US Open Volleyball Nationals in Atlanta. Since the flight my boss booked returned through Atlanta, I decided to stay for a couple of days, instead of flying back to Nashville, and turning around and driving back to Atlanata.

Boy was it an experience.

Here are just a few of the characters I met along the way:

  • The Ticket Counter Worker: I was very late for my initial flight out of Nashville. This man sped my through the check-in process, and walked me over to the other security line, knowing it would be shorter. I made it to the plane 5 mintes before take-off, thanks to him.
  • The Car Rental Manager: This guy was very helpful, even if he didn’t honor the deal that I had gotten from a schiester website. He worked with me for an hour, called the website’s customer service, let me get on his computer to cancel my insurance with that company, and set me up with a different rental.
  • The Crackhead Car Rental Shuttle Driver: She was quite a hoot, making fun of all of the rental-car drivers getting in her way, and complaining about the world in general. She talked non-stop during my entire ride. Okay, so she wasn’t a crackhead, and was actually quite nice, but boy, what a character.
  • The Homeless Tourguide: As I made my way from the MARTA station trying to find the Omni Hotel, a man who I came across asked what hotel I was looking for. When I said the Omni, he said, “shoo-oot, you got off the wrong train.” He walked me 2-3 blocks to show me where the hotel was, informed me of the better way to get there via MARTA train, and which stations and trains to take later when I went back to the aiprort. He asked if I was in Atlanta for the volleyball, and chit-chatted about that. When he asked where I was from, he said “man, this is gonna blow your mind,” and informed me that he was from Columbia, a town near where I’m from. I actually gave him $5 for his help. I’ve never given money to a homeless man before, but hey, he actually earned that money. He was helpful, polite, and actually talked to me, instead of just begging for money.
  • My Mentor: While at the tournament, I ran into my mentor, who originally taught me (as well as many others in my area) how to play volleyball. It was good to see him. I had kept in touch occasionally through the years, but had recently lost touch with him via email, and had not seen him in more than ten years. It was good to see him again, and better yet, to reconnect him with a couple of the other “old school” players from my area that were at Nationals.
  • Old Friends: I kept running into more and more old volleyball friends at Nationals each day I was there.
  • The CNN Talent: While waiting in line at Dunkin Donuts in the CNN Center Foodcourt, the guy standing behind me turned out to be an on-air personality, acting like a total jerk. Huffing and puffing, pacing, etc for having to wait. Poor thing. I’m sure he was thinking “I bet Larry King doesn’t have to get his own coffee.”

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