Our Travel Agent Took Me Farther

by Catherine Glover
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Travel AGent

When I was growing up our family’s travel agent was also a family friend. We always knew that “Dilly has taken care of it.” We kids were always welcome to stop by her office, having to pay for the visits with hugs and being shown off to the whole office.

Dilly was my mentor. I loved the idea of being a travel agent: flying off to see the world, then helping others to see the wonderful places I’d enjoyed. She encouraged me to follow my dreams — “after you finish college.”

One Christmas college vacation my parents gave me a vacation cruise on a sailboat. It was my first trip on my own. I was so excited! Finally, the day arrived for me to start the first leg of my trip! I had forgotten to confirm my flight, as I’d been taught by Dilly, but there was no problem at the airport. I flew from Tampa to Miami, took a shuttle to the hotel, and checked in for the night. I scheduled a wake-up call because the plane to meet the cruise was very early the next day.

Then I called the airline to confirm my flight the next morning. I received the horrifying news that I was a 24 hours behind schedule — they could not confirm my flight since it had left that morning!

I sat on the bed, all alone in the hotel, and sobbed. How could I have been so stupid? What would I tell my parents? What could I do now? Then I remembered that Dilly had given me her home number in case I needed it.

When I heard her voice my story tumbled out in huge sobs. She quietly reassured me that we would work it out, but could not totally suppress the smile in her voice as she asked me to repeat the whole story. I finally asked how she could find this funny, sure that she was going to say she was laughing at what a ditz I was!

She then affectionately laughed (for the love was in her laugh) and said “Only you could carry yourself in such a manner that no one questioned the fact that you were a day late! Only when you called, and they did not see you in person, did someone have the courage to tell you that you were late.” Even in my distraught state I had to laugh at that. She then arranged everything so I could take the cruise.

I have carried the confidence she gave me that day for all the years since. Maybe the airlines, shuttle, and hotel just took pity on a teenager and let me proceed. I’ll never know for I never asked — I already had the answer: I exuded confidence and therefore they succumbed to my charm! Thanks Dilly, for the love and confidence you gave a ditzy teenager, by taking a potential tragedy and making it a personal triumph.

Originally published on Aug 30, 2001

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