I had to crouch on the dirty floor at my crowded gate so I could use an electrical socket at the bottom of a wall, away from the seating area, to charge my phone just enough to connect with my family and make other arrangements.
I was forced to stay overnight in a hotel, with no fresh clothing, and spend a couple of hundred dollars on lodging and food.
I was afforded only a few hours of sleep before I had to return to the airport at 4 a.m. for my rebooked flight. That flight was delayed by four hours, and the other passengers and I were corralled into a room where we waited for infrequent updates as we played with our electronic devices. More crouching on the dirty floor to charge my phone.
But that's not why it was a miserable airport experience. It was a miserable airport experience because I did not receive a Tim Hortons donut.
For those of you unfamiliar with Tim Hortons, it's a Canadian company that sells, in my opinion, the most delicious donuts of any of the major chains. I bought a sour cream glazed donut from Tim Hortons when I arrived at the same airport a few days earlier, and it really hit the spot.I wouldn't do well on "The Amazing Race" because I'd waste too much time charging my phone at the airport.— Shane (@myemptythoughts) June 6, 2016
When I'm in Canada, I need to eat a Tim Hortons donut. It's a mandatory dining experience north of the border. Just as when I'm visiting California I need to eat an In-N-Out burger, and when I pull over at a New York Thruway rest stop I need to eat at Roy Rogers.
So I of course was very excited, as I sat crouched in that room for the rebooked flight, when an employee of the airline announced that it would treat us all to a Tim Hortons donut. I was hungry and I was tired, but I felt re-energized by the thought of sweet Canadian fried dough in my mouth.
Fifteen minutes later, a box of donuts was brought into the room. Everyone rushed towards it. I was in the back of the crowd, but I wasn't concerned. The airline knows how many people are here; they must have counted, I told myself. I am extremely confident that there are enough donuts for everyone.
As I moved closer and closer to the box, the donuts became fewer and fewer. It's fine, I reassured myself. It may look like the donuts are running out, but I can only see three-fourths of the box from where I'm standing. There must be a few tucked away in a corner somewhere. I'll still get a donut.
The final donut was snatched away the moment I reached the box. I quickly scanned the box with my eyes, just to make sure. There were no donuts tucked away in a corner somewhere. Reality set in: I wasn't getting a donut.
"Any chance there will be more donuts? I didn't get one," I asked the employee, with the saddest look you'll ever see from a person who was denied a donut.
"We're checking into it," he replied.
That was the last I'd heard from him on the possibility of more donuts.
I can handle a delay or cancellation of a flight. I'm a patient and understanding person. Hey, things happen. I can't blame the airline for inclement weather. But a delay or cancellation of a donut? Without any update at all? Without accommodating me by rebooking me for a later donut? I can blame it for that. What terrible customer service. What an inconvenience. Completely ruined my day.
Canada, you owe me a donut.