“I need you to come home, my water broke.” Tim heard over the hotel room phone. He was stunned into silence.
“But you’re three weeks early. You said it would be okay for me to go on this business trip.” he stupidly replied.
“I’m having contractions. The baby is coming. You need to be here.” she insisted.
“I’ll do everything I can to be there. Try not to have the baby before I arrive.” he moronically stated.
They hung up and he called the corporate travel agency at the 24-hour service number. It was almost 11 pm in Los Angeles, California and he needed to get to Norfolk, Virginia fast.
The cheerful travel agent working at the late night call center began listing the normal business flights leaving LAX starting at 7 a.m. Tom stopped her to convey a little more urgency in the situation.
“My wife just went into labor almost 3,000 miles away. It’s our first baby and she’s three weeks early.” he stated.
“Oh!” the agent chirped, “You want the first flight out and the most direct route. There’s one leaving in 45 minutes that connects through Nashville, Tennessee and gets you into Norfolk just before 7 a.m.”
“I’ll take it.” Tim said and she arranged for tickets issued at the counter.
He hastily packed, loaded his two bags into the rental car and checked out of the hotel. Now he just needed to wake up Dean, the team leader, have him drive to them LAX in time for the flight. He called Dean’s room and let it ring, no answer. He kept trying Dean’s room from his cell phone as he walked to it and began pounding on the door. Tom could hear the room phone ringing and Dean sluggishly moving in the bed to answer it. He kept pounding on the door as Dean picked up the phone.
“Dean! It’s me, Tim. I’m at your door. Hang up the phone and open up!” I shouted.
Dean was the team leader by virtue of company seniority. He was on the job to supervise and stay out of the way. He hadn’t gotten his hands dirty with this type of work in a while, but the job was straightforward, the money was good, and he could get away from home for a few days of fun in the sun. He drank a little too much on the road and Tim guessed this was one of the nights Dean might have hit the booze hard. Dean opened the door and Tim confirmed the drunken state of his team leader.
“Dean, get dressed. We’re going to the airport. I’m leaving because my wife’s in labor.” Tim said.
“Huh? What?” Dean mumbled as he rubbed one eye and stood there in his boxers and t-shirt.
“Airport. Me. Leaving. BABY coming! We drive. NOW!” Tim parsed out the words so Dean could comprehend.
Dean pulled on a pair of shorts, shrugged on a shirt and left it unbuttoned. Tim pulled him by the arm to the rental car and put him in the passenger seat. Tim hurriedly drove to LAX while providing a verbal turnover of the job status to his drunken boss. He didn’t know how much of it Dean understood but didn’t care.
They pulled up to the white loading zone and Tim jumped out, grabbed his bags, and left Dean in the car with the keys. Tim rushed to the ticket counter and got processed. The agent told him the gate number and said boarding was in progress. Tim ran through the airport, made it through the security checkpoint with only a few raised eyebrows that relaxed a bit when he gasped out his situation.
“Wife. Labor. Baby. Norfolk.”
He made it to the gate, the plane, and his seat as they closed the door. Once airborne, he reclined his seat and went to sleep.