I appreciate your candor and the final revelation. As someone who regularly travels with a disabled hockey team, I need to read something like this now and then to remember that there is, indeed, something human and decent about the airline industry.
We’ve had hockey sticks disappear forever, presumably catalogued as exotic weapons because ours have pointy spikes on the ends;
thousand-dollar hockey sleds put on the wrong flight as we’re on our way to Nationals;
disdainful glares from the able-bodied as the flight attendants load six or seven wheelchair users onto the plane one… at… a… time;
two-hour romps through TSA as every wheelchair and prosthetic leg is analyzed for explosive traces. Once they detained one of our athletes, a one-legged Mexican, because they said he resembled a two-legged Arab on the terror watch list. (How’s that for a disguise?)
One thing we haven’t endured yet is an interminable layover; ours have only been two hours max so far, and much of that is taken up with mandatory bathroom breaks and making sure the baggage shmo tags the wheelchairs properly. But given the ever-decaying state of the industry, I imagine we’ll be condemned to the long haul sometime this season. I think I’ll bookmark your story for those times, and pray I can make it to the last few paragraphs without exploding.