The 9/11 Shipper Alert…wait Who?

9/11 call

On 9/11 so many of us were on the road…this will live with all of us as long as we live…I was at a show in Seattle, WA, where were you?

In fact, it was the Fed-X delivery guy who alerted me that something bad going on as I was just getting up. I was awaiting my shipment that was supposed to have been there the day before, and it was scheduled for “first early delivery” the next day.  That was truly a surreal day and experience, but I will never forget that it was the “shipper” that called me so I could turn on my television and give him the information until he could get to the hotel that I had the delivery sent to, it was horrific, no other word.

When my colleagues surfaced we all spent the day at the hotel, and that afternoon one of the sales guys took myself and another staff member for a drive, ironically we ended up at Deception Falls, but it did pass the day and keep us all from going stir crazy. The next day we all spent the day on the show floor pacing the floors with large screens projecting the news, as we were literally a captive audience with no way to get back home, we took good care of each other and rallied to figure out ways for all of us to get home. Ultimately, the genuine caring humanity came out of everyone, and the safety of all was at the forefront of the circumstances.

Our hotel was older and we had to climb many flights of stairs. In my room I went to bed and about 8:00 pm I was trying to relax when a helicopter sound could be heard outside the hotel (I was on the 16th floor), a knock at the door scared the wits out of me, as I opened carefully to discover an elderly lady that was so frightened she was having a panic attack as there was certainly not supposed to be anything in the air at that point. Her daughter was out to dinner and she was alone and frightened; I was able to calm her and lay her on the bed with cold towels. I reached the front desk and determined the helicopter was official and doing a patrol of the area and everything was fine both of us were able to breathe again and kept each other company until her daughter arrived about midnight and took her back to her room. Sleep was not even an option at that point.

The next morning I went to take a shower and the fire alarm went off in my room with the steam from the shower. Needless to say, on edge was an understatement. Luckily I was able to turn the alarm off after opening all the windows. No one came or called as I was rushing to get dressed while soaking wet, and fanning with a towel.  At this point, it was definitely time to make it back to my family, I was not in the most confident of mindsets!

With a plan of action for all of us to leave that day, some drove their rental cars home with booth contents, still the responsible show manager; eee gads insanity! A couple of us had an inside track for the flights we could take to get home; albeit the round-about way. Flying was frightening that day, the Denver airport was completely empty. The board listing the flights had several flights listed, but all were CANCELLED with the exception of the flight we were on, which said, ON TIME!  The flight loaded as planned and then quickly unloaded with no reason, and then we were all loaded back on, and it was silent the entire way! Completely, nerve-wracking!  When it was all said and done it took us a couple of days and a long drive to get back, but very minimal in comparison to the dire situation and we all made it back home safe and sound, to grieve for our nation with our families.

Work travel does have risks just like staying at home does. Often when internal staff or family has not traveled for a living they feel slighted as though the traveler is on holiday. There are fun times on the road as there are at home, but the risk is always there and every time you travel you have that little voice that says, “let me come back in one piece”.

Why this, and why today…not sure other than the fact that I was thinking about shippers and the general information and ideas on shipping; but wanted to acknowledge the fact that it was a shipper that I connected with on that awful day and travel for all of us changed that day and continues to evolve!

So the gypsy sends a lucky/safe travels wish for all of you travelers that continue to do exceptional work; and to the home bodies that keep the home fires burning and safe!