January 8, 2010

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?


So I check my Hawaiian Airlinest flight itinerary online and discover I have the entire next day to prepare before my scheduled 5:05pm departure. I have a million things to do before I leave but I’m stoked I have lots of time. Unfortunately no one wants to take me to the airport so I call and ask my best friend Kameron if he can ride up with me to the airport in LA so he can drive my truck back. Like the best friend he is, he agrees and replies,

“Sure I’ll take you as long as I can get back in time for my shift at Selmas at 5:30."

So the next day, I finish up packing my things, send a couple emails, eat, put a couple last minute Christmas/Birthday checks in the bank, and race over to his house when I finally get everything done. I originally plan to pick him up at 2:30pm but due to everything I need to get finish, inevitably I’m running a little late. I’m never late for flights either. I arrive at his house in Dana Point at about 3:00pm and he’s already waiting outside like a good friend would. We traffic surf our way up the 405 freeway, speed line it at 85/90 mph (not the safest way to drive), stop for a quick $20 tank of gas, get suddenly approached by a 7 foot tall black guy who claims he almost played for the Lakers years ago and has the sneakers to prove it. I give him all the change I got then finally arrive at the God forsaken Hawaiian Airlines cue minute later. Keep in mind, it's about 4:15pm on a Tuesday and the 405 is already jam packed headed south even on our way up there. I know Kameron's stressing and so am I because there's no way in hell he's going to make it to work on time. We jump out of my truck, I throw my stuff out of the car as fast as I can, we hug it out, and Kameron bounces like a bank robber only to barely make it to work after charging the carpool lane all the way home. Two motorcycle cops even miss the fact he’s clearly braking the law in mid daylight right under their very noses. Yeah Kam! That's my boy blue! I grab my things and run to the nearest Hawaiian Airlines Kiosk as fast as I can drag my boards. Keep in mind, my flight's scheduled to board at 4:20pm and we get there at about 4:17pm. I see the Hawaiian Airlines kiosk immediately. There's no line. I'm that late. I run to the front of the cordoned off line and an older pleasant looking woman smiles from behind her desk and waves me over as if she is happy to see me, secretly planning her ferocious attack. I'm stoked it's a woman and not a man so I get ready to do some hardcore ass-kissing as I always do when checking in for a flight. I always have a board bag to pay for and the nicer you are, the more lenient they usually are. Surprisingly, as soon as I get to her desk, she doesn’t say a word much less look me in the eyes. Her sight is glued to the screen in front of her when she disrespectfully mutters,

“I.D. prease. Dribas risence o Passpote”

She notices right away I’ve already checked in online and even paid for my surfboard bag like the savvy traveler I think I am. $100 out the door seems like a pretty damn good bargain to me after other terrible airport experiences in the past. I once had to pay $450 for my boards to get to Norway, and my worst experience ever was in Morocco when I never saw my two brand new shortboards again. Tough luck, see yah next time sucker! Anyway, she proceeds to check my documentation and I'm a little bit thrown off by her attitude.

Next, the boardbag. Every surfer knows the gut-wrenching feeling awaiting the astronomical amount of money charged for our large sporting equipment. Nope. Not me. I’m already checked in online, paid, and prepared to charge. Just as I think I’m off the hook at last, the infamous last words come roaring out of her voicebox.

“How meny boads en da bag?” she inquires.

Before I can even lie and say the number two, she’s already reaching for the zipper. She spreads open the bag completely. Her soft, little left asain hand goes slowly plummeting into the disguised depths of my bag. Littered with wetsuits, beach towels, sandals, leashes, and duck tape, I'm certain she'll miss it.

“Juan…………..Du……………Up! Wad we hab heya? A turd boad?” she smiles. $$$ Cha Ching!

Thinking quickly, I come up with something like,“It’s not a surfboard, It’s a kiteboard! Please, I didn't know you can't bring kiteboards. Your website says nothing about them and you asked me how many surfboards were in there so I told you two.”

I'm wondering if I can kinive my way out of paying the full $100 fee for the extra surfboard. The extra board happens to be my Cole Aviso BD3 trunkboard. It freakishly resembles a kiteboard for it's size and shape all snuggled up in it's striped little Stickybumps board sock hiding it from plain sight. She pauses and thinks for a second. Thinking I might get lucky and save a meager $50, I'm wrong. Since she takes the utmost pride in her little discovery, she’s determined to rip me a new one. I have no choice but to agree to the charge. I hesitantly hand over the plastic and sarcastically thank her for being so kind. Just as I think the situation can not worsen, it seriously does. She smerks and asks,

“Du hab nudda foam ub paymen, sur?”

Since my debit card is the only thing I’ve got, I run downstairs to the nearest ATM only to find my bank account is a barren wasteland due to the amount of Christmas shopping I did this year. The checks I thought I had deposited are still pending. My only option I have is to call my Dad and beg him to save my ass. Ring Ring...Ring Ring...Ring Ring. He answers at the last second. I explain that I'm between a rock and hard place paying for my boards and there's absolutely no time to hesitate. I ask him to run to my bank 10 minutes down the road and deposit enough cash so I can make my flight. You can imagine he’s not too stoked on my request. I'm freaking out at this point and I ask for the woman's supervisor. The mean lady quickly tells me her supervisor is busy and can not come down until after the flight has already left. This is when I really blow a gasket.

"You're a f@^*ing liar! I'm going to call the Police right now and report you, you little asshole!" I say with force. I'm pissed off, frustrated, and really don't even care at this point. I know calling the Police won't do shit, but I know it will scare the crap out of her anyway.

She quickly points at me and responds, "You da lia, You da lia! You hab tree boads! You rie! You rie!" She picks up the phone and automatically begins dialing.

She immediately calls her supervisor like I knew she would. Conveniently, the woman’s supervisor shows up in a matter of 30 seconds. She's super nice too. She explains the whole policy bullcrap to me as she makes numerous phone calls, offering me discounted rates on nearby hotels. She makes it clear I only have 10 minutes to get the money in my bank account. After that I’m screwed. Stressing out, I call my Dad relentlessly. I feel like the guy in the hot seat on that show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I'm frantically waiting on a friend to answer my question using the “phone a friend” option with the million dollar question left to answer with absolutely no idea what the correct choice is. I even try making myself cry. I basically look like a junkie pacing around talking to myself from an outsiders perspective. To top it all off with a little icing on the cake, I’m an hour away from home in L.A. where my Dad will have to drive and pick me up if I miss the flight because it’s the last flight of the day. Oh, and, it gets worse. I have to pay $200 to even change my flight to the next day. The supervisor gives me a warning every couple minutes...

“5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds,” she sadly says to me. I'm convinced at this point I'm not making the flight and proceed to grab my things and head for the door.

It literally comes down to the last 10 seconds when my Dad calls and gives me the go to charge my account. He's pissed he has to do it and he even gets in a tiff with the lady at my bank over his social security number while trying to put funds in my account which slows down entire process in the first place. The evil woman finally swipes my card for the very last time and the transaction miraculously goes through. Before I can even run to my gate like a chicken with my head cut off, she has the nerve to say,

“Oh, an by da wey, yo boads mos rikery won maka yo fright. Tanks!”


Lesson(s) Learned:

NEVER be even remotely close to being late for a flight.

NEVER travel on an empty account. Obviously...

NEVER, EVER fly Hawaiian Airlines again!


Brett Caller said...

ha ha very funny bro. tip taken...

ChasenSeleen said...

Loved this narrative. It usually takes a pretty solid piece to make me spend this much time reading a blog entry of this length, but I was intrigued throughout. I could picture the lady behind the counter and your attempt to turn on the charm and then the shift to desperation mode. All of it, hilarious. I'd love to have this run in the magazine.

Sea Walk said...

hahaha Go for it! :)

Jackson said...

"Wad we hab heya? A turd"
The BD3 should at least be half price.

Jamie Watson said...

oh my gosh my blood pressure went up reading this!!! i can only imagine what you were feeling like!

Surfsister said...

As I'm thinking of how you could have responded to that wonderful (Not!) woman at the Hawaiian Airlines counter, I think back to Wayne Brady on the David Chappelle Show.

You should have stepped back, smiled and said, "Is Christian Wach gonna have to slap a bitch?" I know that's politically incorrect, but I bet she would have been caught off-guard fo sho!

sharkbait said...

Nice piece.

Hawaiian Air can suck but it is the only airlines we really got.

Welcome to Hawaii the land of slow drivers, spam musabis, and overpriced real estate.

Going to hit the outer islands or only stay up north?

Got any new tracks?

Have fun and stay safe.