Since Saturday was the first day of hurricane season, it seems like the perfect opportunity to recount an experience I had more than a decade ago. I was reminded of the event last year. As Hurricane Isaac approached the Louisiana coast last summer, I received an email from Tom asking if it all seemed familiar. Strangely enough for a California girl, I actually have a hurricane story.
Back in 2000, one of my cousins in New Orleans was getting married, and I decided to fly out for the ceremony. As the wedding day drew nearer, I kept watching the weather reports because a hurricane kept inching closer and closer to the city.
The wedding was beautiful, and I had a wonderful time catching up with family members who I hadn’t seen in years.
The next morning we woke up and the news showed that the hurricane was expected to hit that afternoon. We had a morning flight, so we figured all was okay. We were wrong. Over night they closed the airport. After a few tense phone calls, Ma was able to find a rental car company that would rent us a car and allow us to turn it in in another state. I called and got a flight out of Birmingham instead, but they charged me a hefty fee. I needed to leave, so I paid for it.
We got the car and started our drive up to the Birmingham airport. Later we found out that they closed the bridges to the city only an hour or two after we left!
Finally we reached the Birmingham airport. Tom suggested I go up to the ticket counter to try and get my fee refunded. I was tired and no longer cared, but I listened and went up to the smiling lady. Between deep sighs, I explained my situation, that we’d just driven from New Orleans to escape the hurricane, and that when I rescheduled my flight they charged me a fee, which I paid because I had no choice. The woman looked at me with pitying eyes and apologized that a person on staff would have done that to someone in such a perilous situation. She gladly refunded my money. I came back smiling, no longer trying to figure out how I would have paid that bill.
It turns out the storm missed the city, leaving a lot of rain and some wind, but no damage. The drive was worth it, though: we got home the day we were intended to and ended up with a good story as a result.
Do you have a hurricane story? or Have you successfully negotiated to get a refund that they didn’t have to give? (I found it helps if you are near tears!)