When the natives return home, the party is on.
Any trip to the homeland is filled with massive amounts of food, fun and checking in with as many people from the FAMbase as I can. My recent trip to WNY checked all the boxes and then some.
However, traveling to and from rural areas like Wyoming is an adventure on a good day. This trip was no exception. I realized it was going to be “one of those trips” while waiting in the TSA line at the Denver airport. The line was as long as Josh Allen can throw a football and I had less than 30 minutes before my flight left.
Knowing I would likely miss my direct connecting flight to Buffalo felt like the last calf being led through a chute on branding day.
What I wasn’t prepared for was finding out when I did miss the flight that the airline only flies to Buffalo twice a WEEK and the next flight would be going out three days later.
The “customer service” folks from “Airline X” were hardened from having seen the look on a passenger’s face realizing they could be stranded at the Denver airport for days on end. Out of the goodness of their sweet little hearts they suggested I trot on over to another carrier and try to book a flight out on my own, which I did.
I arrived at Charlotte late that evening (could not book straight through to Buffalo), so of course I missed what was the last flight out of Charlotte to Buffalo.
Spending the night there triggered a recent horror story a couple years ago being stuck for 12 hrs overnight in the Atlanta airport. Gulp, my bad travel karma was at it again.
That was until the BillsMafia took over my trip and rescued an exasperated elderly woman from the jaws of airport hell. My dear friend – and BillsMafia sister-in-crime – Celeste Albone (@celestealbone) was kind enough to keep track of me (always a good idea) and immediately jumped into action when she got my updated status.
I was about to be sleepless in Charlotte.
Nope. Not this old fossil.
Celeste shared the ‘plight of my flight’ on Twitter and BillsMafia immediately sprung into action. Since BillsMafia exists in nearly every corner of the globe, one of our sisters in Charlotte immediately offered to help.
Here it is – after 10 p.m. – and the most lovely woman Nunie (@arkandove) jumped into her car with her beautiful dog and rescued me from the literal gates of hell. She welcomed me into her beautiful home, put me up for the night, made sure I had something to eat and took me back to the airport in the morning to catch an early flight to Buffalo.
My cynical wyo-friends were aghast. Wait, what?
Yes, that’s right. Someone I never met in person in a city where I knew no one got in their car, picked me up from the airport and welcomed me into her home. We laughed and chatted about our respective home towns in WNY and it felt like we knew each other all our lives. A memory I will forever cherish!
This would likely come as a surprise to most Wyomingites, who pride themselves as being stewards of the western way of life. We live by something called ‘The Code of the West’ , and it loosely (very) parallels ‘The Code of BillsMafia’. This is sometimes shocking for native ‘wyos’ to comprehend. Yes, there are kind people who live east of the Mississippi River.
Throughout my entire time in WNY, someone always had my back. Admittedly, it does take a village to get me through any traveling experience, especially since people say I’m more of a recluse than the Unibomber.
But the BillsMafia village not only showed up, they made SURE I didn’t get myself in trouble, which if left to my own devices would have surely resulted in a sad – and likely tragic outcome.
So I got to Buffalo with no more drama, right?
You see, there was the little issue of the bag I checked in Denver that was supposed to land in Buffalo (maybe). If Airline X only flies a few times a week to Buffalo, where in the universe will my luggage end up?
Needless to mention I was stressing to the nines about whether I’d be off to Canandaigua later that same day with nothing to wear but my already stinky clothes.
Enter super-sleuth Celeste Albone to the rescue. She tracked down the original flight I was supposed to be on and found out it had just landed in Buffalo. Living close by, she decided to see if she could find my bag and zipped right over to the airport.
Apparently she walked to the baggage claim area and my bag was still sitting in the carousel. So, she just picked it up like a champ (yes, this is the disturbing part that she could do it so easily) and trotted it right on out the door and safely to her house.
Seriously, how BillsMafia is that move?
Never doubt the power of kindness. It’s what defines us as BillsMafia.
Stay tuned – I’ll continue to chronicle my epic trip to Buffalo. This was only the first part of the graciousness extended to me by the members of BillsMafia. ‘Travels with Tammy’ are coming soon :) My aging brain can only ‘process’ so much at a time.
Editor’s babble: I can never thank Celeste Albone (@celestealbone) and Nunie (@arkandove) for orchestrating my arrival in Buffalo. If you’re really looking hard, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.