Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Life Lesson: Be Persistent

So as I mentioned previously, the conference that we stayed an extra week for was a total bust. Very unorganized and chaotic. And definitely not worth the expense (both time and real dollars) to stay in Abuja. Our cameraman (who is working on a documentary for us...yeah we're that cool) was heading home Thursday night to go to his nephew's wedding. So I had the brilliant idea that maybe I could change my flight from Sunday to Thursday for a nominal fee. After running this stroke of brilliance past Mercy I called home and asked Ange to call Delta thinking it might be easier to change the ticket from the US. Sadly no.

Ange called me back a few hours later and said that Delta gave her some b.s. explanation about seats or something and that they could get me a guaranteed seat for the low price of $1287. Say what? My original round-trip ticket cost $1218. Why would I pay MORE to change it? In the meantime Ange looked up the phone number for Delta in Nigeria and suggested I give it a try. So I did, and they said there were no seats available. BOO. I told her to try again later, which she did, but still no avail. I resigned myself to being stuck for several more days.

Trying to be a good sport I decided to see if the conference organizer could use my skills...or at least an extra set of hands, even though she lost my reservation and I was staying at an off-site hotel. I was trying to be the bigger person. So I went to find her at the Hilton and asked how I could help. She said she'd need my help...but probably later because everything was so chaotic she couldn't think straight to give me something to do. Okkkkk. So I asked if I could have a name badge (that they had also lost my registration for) so I could at least get into the conference and see what was going on. Oh, sorry, we don't have anymore. Ok, so I can't help and I can't go in. Super.

Mercy was going to a Rotary meeting at another hotel so I was stuck. Suddenly I remembered that I had both of her passports (because she hands them over as soon as we arrive or she may very well lose them) so I meandered over to the front desk to see if I could finagle a room key from them. I told them I was her assistant (true) and I needed to get a key to her room because she was in a meeting and couldn't find her key (first part true, second part very likely true), and I needed to put something in her room (half true, I needed to put ME in her room). I showed her passports to the man and I was very quickly given a key. Genius.

I went up to the room to chill. When she called to check in I told her the story and she just cracked up. She's used to my shenanigans by now. She was also glad that I was able to get in because that meant she didn't have to come back to the Hilton to take care of me and could go on with her biz. On a lark, I decided that since I was really, really wasting time in Abuja I would try and call Delta again, just on the off chance they could come up with a seat home for me.

And wouldn't you know...they did. I had to switch planes in Dakar and fly to Atlanta but bottom line was that I was still getting home 3 and a half days early. And for only the $250 ticket change fee plus some taxes. Ecstatic over the developments I called our camera man to let him know I'd be joining him (he was excited too!) and Mercy to let her know I was abandoning her. The first thing she asked was "Are there any other flights before Sunday???" Sadly, there wasn't. But at least I got home! Saved the foundation some money, and I had a wonderful weekend at home. Worth every last naira of the $319 I paid.

Morale(s) of the story: Never take no for an answer. Always keep asking until you get what you want.

Side Morale: Act like you know what you are doing. Rarely do people question you if you act with confidence.

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