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Is one of your mottos, “Waste Not Want Not”? For sure, this is one of mine. One of my friends has this saying embroidered and hanging in her kitchen. It was given to her by her beloved mother-in-law, so it’s really special. And when I’m in her kitchen, it always gets me thinking… especially this past week. Turns out, I had two United Club passes expiring on July 31. I wasn’t going to use them. I asked everyone I knew if they could use them. Nope. Grant did the same. No luck. I had this nagging “Waste Not Want Not” feeling and today the inspiration for what to do with them came to me. I would do a random act of kindness and, at the same time, take myself on a nice walk. I would go down to the San Diego Airport (SAN) and walk up to people by the United Airlines counter and see who could use them.
This could be fun!
Here’s how it went. I only live 5 miles from SAN, so the drive was easy. I decided to park way off site, so as not to spend money on parking. Harbor Island is adjacent to SAN, so even if I had to park some miles away, the walk to the terminal would be a nice one, mostly along the harbor. Now, even though I’m quite comfortable talking to total strangers (like I often do for my World Coffee Tour), I had all kinds of questions floating around in my head. How would I know who to approach? If security saw me, would they hassle me? What if I did this and no one wanted the passes? What if this took longer than 3 hours, which was all the time I had in my parking spot? All those what-ifs. I decided that the “right” people, whether they were two people traveling together, or two single travelers, would somehow find me. I would appear and they would appear. Why not hope for the best possible outcome?
United Airlines is almost at the end of the airport terminals. It was a 1.5 mile walk and it was a very interesting experience to travel as much as I do, and yet today, just walk through the airport and look at people. SAN is a busy place in the summer! I finally got to United Airlines, which isn’t a major player here in San Diego, and it was pretty quiet. Uh oh. I didn’t want to approach people as they entered the security lines because then I knew a security guard would absolutely wonder what the heck I was doing. I looked at the check-in lines and saw about a dozen people. I figured anyone on the elite check-in lines would likely have United Club access, so my potential club pass audience was shrinking fast.
I noticed these three men sitting together. I thought too bad there were three of them and I had only two passes. Then I saw that two of them got up and started walking towards security. Hey, maybe the third guy wasn’t with them. I made my move! I asked them if they were traveling on United Airlines. They said yes. One of the guys kept walking, but the other seemed fine to talk with me. I asked, “How long do you have before your flight?” He looked at his watch and said, “two hours.” BINGO. I explained to them about the United Club passes, and showed them the passes. They showed me their boarding passes too. We chatted a bit and I asked if they were in San Diego for Comic Con. They said, “Good guess!” That broke the ice and was actually funny because I’d say maybe 75% of the people at SAN today were from Comic Con :)
Turns out, these two middle aged men were from Copenhagen and visiting San Diego for the first time for Comic Con. Their routing was back to Copenhagen via Chicago, so at 16 hours travel time, they had a long day ahead. They said at Comic Con, they heard many other European accents as well. Of course, with my natural travel blogger curiosity, I just had to find out where they stayed. Ouch! By the time they got around to booking a hotel, nothing in the city was left, so they ended up about 30 minutes north of the city. At least they found something.
I told them where to find the United Club once they were through security. I did tell them about TWG and asked if they had a few minutes after enjoying the United Club, could they email me and tell me about it? Nothing from them yet, which I totally understand. This whole interaction took maybe 5 minutes. I had to hold myself back from apologizing that our lounges here in the states don’t compare to European lounges. I’m hoping at the very least, they enjoyed some beverages and light snacks. The United Club at SAN is small, but certainly nice enough. I then walked back to my car. The whole adventure took 80 minutes and it felt good, as Grant says, “to PASS it forward.”
Has anyone ever done anything like this? Do let me know in the comments below. Have a great day everyone!