'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the terminal
Travelers were stuck for a time indeterminable.

I was stuck for a while too. An airplane had gone off the end of a runway and ended up near the Hertz lot. When you return your car and see an airplane with it's chutes out next to the lot, you know there are going to be delays.

My Pproject Manager had given me a box of 100 Pepperidge Farm cookies which were left over from our team holiday party. I also had in my luggage several strings of lights, and a pair of reindeer antlers with ribbons on them. As I stood in line, knowing that it would be at least six hours before I could get a flight home, I realized that I could either be grumpy about the situation, or make the most of the heartwarming holiday spirit that is so prevalent in O'Hare in December. I took the antlers out of my suitcase and placed them on my head. I opened the box of cookies and offered some to the people in front of and behind me in line.

I don't know if it's surprising that so many people in O'Hare will not take cookies from a stranger wearing antlers, or that some will? None the less, I made a tour of the bars handing out cookies. About 20% - 30% of the people would accept the cookies, and at least one in each bar would buy me a drink. The airport was packed and most bars were standing room only. So I had a lot of people to play with. Some of these poor people had been there since early in the morning.

This was fun, but after a while I craved a greater challenge. Something that would be remembered! So, I tried to sneak into the Concourse C Red Carpet Club - United Airline's private little area. Of course, the ladies at the front desk stopped the tipsy woman wearing antlers and handing out cookies. I offered them cookies in exchange for admitting me. These woman are hardened! The would not even let me in for the cookies and $20!.

On the down escalator back to Concourse B, I offered cookies to a guy and explained to him what had happened to me at the Red Carpet Club. He said "No problem!!, we turned around at the end of the escalator and he got me into the room (he was a member). I took off my antlers and walked into the room on the opposite side of him from the mean women at the desk. So, I don't think the ladies noticed me entering. This wonderfully nice gentleman from SAP was returning from a business trip in South America. He'd been travelling all day, and still took time to help me out! He didn't even want any cookies for his deed. He did this purely out of the kindness of his heart. There was truly some holiday spirit in the airport that day.

Well, after a lot of fun in the Red Carpet Room (I'm a member now, and a lot of the staff there remember me from that day!) I left, prancing out with my antlers on, putting my thumb to my nose and waving my fingers at the ladies at the front desk.

I went to my gate. Because I was in row 4, I was one of the last people to board the plane. While waiting I noticed that someone had left a book on a chair in the gate area. When it was my turn to board I picked up the book and headed for the plane. The line stopped at the front of the plane, by the door. I told the flight attendant that someone had left a book and asked if I could use the microphone to see if the owner still wanted it. She said "Of course!" and handed me the microphone. (I was still wearing antlers and handing out cookies, so who could say no to me besides the mean ladies at the Red Carpet Club?)

I took the microphone and said "Someone left a book in the gate area. I'm not sure of whose it is, so I'll read a passage of it. If you recognize the passage and it's your book, please turn on your attendant call button." And I started to read a random passage from the book: "The muscles in his strong arms rippled as he pulled me towards him. His hands ran through my hair…" I managed to read about three sentences before the flight attendant took the book out of my hands and said "We have children on this plane!" (Nothing I read was particularly strong, so I'm sure the children are still innocent.)

No one turned on their attendant call button, and the romance novel went unclaimed.

I had not been able to see the looks on the passengers' faces while I was doing this because I was by the door, behind the bulkhead. But as soon as I started down the aisle another flight attendant got on the microphone and said "That was Santa's naughty reindeer!". There was much laughter and some applause. Many people even came up and thanked me for the entertainment, or congratulated me on getting control of the microphone, after the flight.

I really enjoyed that day in O'Hare Airport. It's possible to enjoy anything, even a six-hour delay, given the right attitude and tools.

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