Our how we met story…
For me, this journey began on Sunday evening July 10th 2005 when I boarded a flight in Bismarck, ND to connect through Minneapolis en route to Kansas City to prepare for a quarterly business meeting that would begin on Monday afternoon. I was not much of a morning person at the time and being single with nobody to miss me at home I was happy to leave the night before to arrive in Kansas City. I would have a full morning to prepare for the upcoming meeting.
My travel plans quickly changed when we were delayed leaving Bismarck. After rolling away from the gate the crew informed us that the aircraft had a major hydraulic oil leak. We would not be able to fly to Minneapolis that evening. They went on to say that mechanics would be flown in and would work through the night. This very flight would depart the next morning at 5am. We were instructed to keep our boarding passes as the flight “would not exist” in the computer system. We would be assigned to the same seats, have our bags rechecked and they would do the “best they could” upon our arrival in MSP the next morning to get us to our destinations as quickly as possible.
The flight on Monday morning other than being wheels up at 5am went off as planned. This was a point in my life that I had flown at a minimum of every other week and often on consecutive weeks so the short flights between Bismarck and MSP as well as connections to other destinations within 2 hours of airtime from MSP had become very routine and almost always involved an upgrade to first class. (Inserted by Katie: Yes he was an upgrade snob. You know the type. Tall, dark and handsome wearing a pin-striped suit and always sitting in first class. Never back with the commoners in coach!)
Once in MSP I made my way to the gate for the earliest flight from MSP to Kansas City and hoped there would be a place for me on the plane. My arrival to the ticket counter yielded an envelope with my name on it containing a boarding pass that was a middle seat towards the rear of the aircraft. It is now approx 6:10am. I should have been sleeping in a KC hotel. And I was not overly happy. I asked the person behind the counter (as nicely as I could under these circumstances) if there were any first class seats remaining. She looked at the computer and said “Oh I am sorry Mr. Pinke…” commenting on my elite status, “there is one seat left……” She typed a few keys and out came a boarding pass for seat 4B. She handed it over and said, “Here is the last seat in first class. They are beginning to board so you can board right now.” I thanked her, took the boarding pass and headed straight for my seat, happy for my seat and hoping to get a bit of a nap before I needed to begin reviewing the material I was to present in a few hours.
Why am I telling you all of this detail? Read on…
What I didn’t know at the time I sat down in seat 4B was that just 30 seconds or less before I had made my request for first class a lady who routinely flew from Fargo to her company’s office in Kansas City had just been called to the ticket counter to be upgraded to seat 4B. Now I was sitting in 4B on the aircraft, the ticket agent explained to the lady that a customer of higher elite status requested first class and they had to change her seat back to a normal seat…..a middle seat in coach, not nearly as coveted as the first class upgrade she had held for ten seconds only to have it taken back.
Now for everyone who knows Katie and for how I was soon to meet Katie I still to this day can’t imagine how she walked onto that aircraft and marched to her seat in the back of the aircraft without stopping by seat 4B to tell whoever that person was that was sitting there that they had just bumped her to the back of the plane. I have really never gotten an answer to why she didn’t say anything to me. I had no idea that this had happened and quite frankly if I would have had the chance to give my first class seat to someone, it would be the well dressed young professional business lady who was also making her way to KC that Monday morning.