A Second Thanksgiving Gift

Some have asked me if my weirdness developed later in life, or if I’ve always been this way. So to help answer that, here’s a story from 27 years ago. But first, a bit of background. I was working at Ameritech, shortly after the old Bell System had been broken up. Due to some truly Byzantine time-keeping rules, I found a loophole that allowed me far more vacation time than the standard two weeks. Because of this, I had done a fair amount of flying around the country, and quickly learned the lingo of airline reservations. You’ll see why I mention this.

A small group of programmers (myself included) were working on a Saturday when a phone started ringing. This particular phone was supposed to be an outgoing data line only, and was totally unlisted. Someone closer to the phone than I answered it, to find some guy trying to get American Airlines reservations. Our fellow explained that we were not American, that the line was only for computer data, and suggested the caller check his number and try again. Our guy then hung up, and we figured that was that.

But it wasn’t. “Reservation Guy” kept calling back, repeatedly (and with increasing hostility) insisting he had the correct number, and demanding we connect him with reservations. This went on for over half an hour, with our people getting just as angry at the repeated interruptions and frustrations as “Reservation Guy” was. When the phone rang again, I jumped in and said “I’ll get rid of him.” I’d only been with the company for a year, and was still considered the naive “kid”. Little did my coworkers know …..

So, I strode over to the phone, sat down at a handy (but switched off) electric typewriter, and answered the phone with a cheery “Good afternoon, American Airlines reservations, how may I help you?” Reservation Guy responds with “Well, it’s about damn time! I’ve been calling all day, and I keep getting some idiots with Ameritech!” I apologised to the guy, explaining that “we’ve been encountering some problems with crossed wires”, and then I took his reservation.

Yep. You read that right. I ran that sucker through the WHOLE shebang – window or aisle seat, smoking or non, I even arranged the guy a rental car with an upgrade for his troubles! (It helped that I had made a reservation, with rental car, just a few days previously.) I gave him fictitious flight numbers, departure and arrival times and gates, even a confirmation number. Mind you, I’m trying to keep a straight face through all this while my cohorts are laughing their butts off and trying to crack me up! But I got all the way through, thanked him for his patience (and he thanked me for my help! 😯 ), and hung up. The phone remained blissfully silent the rest of the day, and my coworkers were duly impressed.

To this day, I would give an arm, leg, and kidney just to go back in time to O’Hare airport on the day of his supposed flight, so I could watch the guy’s head explode……

So yes, I’ve been warped all my life. (Like you hadn’t already guessed that!) Happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or just plain ol’ Thursday!

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18 Responses to A Second Thanksgiving Gift

  1. tom says:

    Happy Thanksgiving. We have an opening for you with Health.Scare.gov the premium government health care site.or you may chose their Call Center or Paper enrollment process positions.

  2. aFrankAngle says:

    That is too darn funny. Thanks for the chuckles!!!! Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving to Team Erickson, and here’s a video for you. http://youtu.be/fYi9Vr8bHJY

    • Hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving at Casa De Angle. Now that I’ve hauled enough lumber to build a small town, I just need to keep the basement dry enough so the fire don’t go out! And then …. SNOW! YIKES!!! 😯
      Now, to chop down my Inbox…. 😀

      • aFrankAngle says:

        We didn’t get as much snow as anticipated … but still a big mess. Had to pick someone up at the airport … normal 40 min drive was 2 hrs 8 mins.

      • We’re on a 48-hour cycle – 2 days of drivable roads, 2 days of skating rinks. We’re going into day two of the second round of skating rink….
        Is it spring yet?

  3. fasab says:

    So it was YOU!!! Grrrrrrrrr

  4. benzeknees says:

    No fair! I start to choke when I laugh this hard! Hahahahaha!

  5. Haha! Oh, the poor guy. Love it.

  6. whiteladyinthehood says:


  7. Archon's Den says:

    Great story! Stupidity carries the death penalty. Anything less is a bonus. Oh, you and I ARE so alike, my “You Can’t Get There From Here” came from the fact that tourists used to drive into our town, and turn off the highway, and wind up at my house looking for directions. After five minutes of pointing in all four directions and mentioning a bridge that was out, construction, a washed out road, etc., I finally told one driver that, “You can’t get there from here. You’ll have to go back to the town hall, read the traffic signs, and start all over.” 😉

    • Sounds like folks around here. They’ll point you down a road, then tell you to turn left “down where Anderson’s barn used to be – it burned down 20 years ago, but that’s where you turn left”. Um … if I knew where the heck Anderson’s barn USED to be, I wouldn’t be friggin’ LOST! 😯
      Maybe, one of these days, I’ll get my wife to explain Texas distances. You know, down the road “a bit”, “a piece”, “a far piece”, “a ways”, and so forth. And you thought metric was hard! 😀

      • Archon's Den says:

        Nah, metric’s easy. It’s logical, and makes sense. I just hate it because it’s arrogantly French, and has no idiosyncratic “life” to it. Three barley corns equal an inch. 16 guys waiting to enter church equals a rod. Give me memories and Imperial any day. 😀

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