"We are looking for 6 people to give up their seats on this flight and fly out tomorrow. We will provide hotel accommodations and meal voucher for tonight and tomorrow morning as well as a $300 voucher for future travel." The announcement echoed through the waiting area where I sat with the Joplin Mission Team. We were returning home from our week of work in Joplin, waiting in Dallas for our plane to arrive when the announcement was made.
I looked at Youth Pastor friend and said "You should do that." I was half joking. He looked at me and said, "I think you should." I thought about it for a few seconds and then shrugged. "Nope, can't leave my team."
The announcement was made again 30 minutes later. They were looking for 3 people then. I wrestled with the thought and Youth Pastor friend gave me the "you should take it" look. Still, my sense of team spirit held strong. Another 30 minutes, the plane that was to take us home had arrived and the third announcement was made. "We are looking for one person to give up their seat on this flight and take a guaranteed flight out tomorrow morning. We will give you meal vouchers, a voucher in a hotel tonight and a $500 travel voucher for future travel." I didn't hesitate long that time. I took my ticket, went up to the counter and said, "Yes, please." I guess I can be bought.
10 minutes later my team was boarding the plane and I was sitting in the waiting area, waiting for my hotel, meal and travel vouchers. I enjoyed two hot showers in a lovely bathroom with fresh, clean towels, serious luxury after a week on a Mission trip, slept in a real bed with clean sheets and arrived home at 9:30am the next morning. No big deal.
Fast forward a bit and I have a $500 travel voucher and a deadline by which to use the voucher. There were many options open. Head to Mississippi for fun? BE with the Revgals? (Gave that one serious consideration seeing as how I could visit Mississippi friends and go to BE. Like two vacations in one.) Washington State to visit family and friends? Maui with my parents and friends? Washington DC? Maine? I just couldn't make a decision.
One day, sitting at work I had a moment of clarity. I had to take a vacation or I was going to fall apart. Not a working vacation like my last three have been but an actual go away and do nothing vacation. That's when everything began to line up. The option was clear. The airfare was just slightly higher than the travel voucher. The dates freed up and suddenly I was going on vacation.
And that, my friends, is how a trip to Joplin turned into a trip to Maui. Aloha.