Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Canada Owes Me A Donut

I had my first miserable airport experience last week. It happened in Canada. My evening flight was delayed by three hours, and then delayed by an additional hour, and then cancelled, due to heavy rain.

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.

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.