As is my habit, upon arriving at the airplane door, I spoke to the lead flight attendant. I pointed out that I was using my own chair, that it would go down to the belly of the plane and then be brought back up for me. I told her that twice before people have attempted to steal my chair and asked her to keep an eye out when the chair comes up. She, as people do, dismissed what I said telling me that no one would do that, I assured her that they would and they have.
Our seats were in row 43 of a 42 row plane. I'm not kidding. We landed and waited for every single other person to get off. When I get to the front my chair is not there. I talk to the people who brought chairs up, I was told that my chair was taking by a woman with long hair and a man travelling with her.
I pointed at the woman who I had spoken to when boarding and told her that I held her responsible. I had informed her, she was at the front the whole time and she simply watched as my chair was taken away. The folks who work in accessible services at the airport bring me a kind of chair that I can't sit in. Finally one is found and I am taken up to the gate area. Several people surround me, I am extremely distraught. My chair is new, I love it, it was my first custom built chair.
People are sent running down to baggage to see if they can find the chair down there. The come back empty handed. I don't know what to do, I'm a long way from home. I don't know how to get to my hotel and what I'm going to do when there. I ask a manager type person if I could use the airport chair for a few days and bring it back. He calls and speaks to a director.
I await her decision.
Sitting at the conveyor belt watching luggage come up I am suddenly overcome and overwhelmed and I break down. I am sobbing in the airport chair. I know people are staring. Joe puts his hand on my shoulder and just lets me grieve for a few minutes until I can put myself back together.
I speak to a manager from the airline, a voice from Winnipeg trying to figure out if I need a new chair to replace the others how she could facilitate that, and then it comes to filling out the forms for both my chair and our luggage which hadn't arrived. Before the forms were filled out, our luggage was returned.
It's been a long time, there is no sign of my chair. Joe goes and gets a rental car, from a company that had lost our prepaid reservation, and arrives after they find a car that I can get into. I have been allowed to take the airport chair with a promise to bring it back when we fly home. It weighs about 35 pounds, versus my stolen chair which weighed 8 pounds.
We get to the hotel, we'd requested an early check in, and are told our room isn't ready. The check in time is 4:00 and we don't get the room until after 5:pm.
After arriving in the room.
We both sit quietly.