(Ray left, Tracey & Lis on the right) Many years ago my husband and I planned a holiday to Tasmania with Tracey and her boyfriend ( now husband). Tracey had booked all the accommodation and car hire and on the day of our departure we met at the airport, allowing plenty of time so there would be no stress. We checked our bags in, got boarding passes and then ate a leisurely breakfast, gradually slipping into holiday mode. There was still some time before boarding commenced so Tracey wandered off to look at the shops while Stu and I set off for the departure lounge. My husband loves planes so it was a slow walk, stopping to look at various aircraft on the way. Eventually we arrived, just as the first boarding call was made. We spotted Ray, and wandered over, only to have him ask us where Tracey was. Slightly concerned we told him we thought she was with him. We looked to see if she was coming, but she was nowhere to be seen. Minutes ticked by with still no sign and back then there were no mobiles available to locate missing friends. By this time we were all quite stressed, constantly checking our watches, hoping she would magically appear. What should we do? Tracey had all the accommodation and car hire information with her; should we board or not? Eventually Stu and I boarded while Ray spoke to the check in staff. Then came more anxious waiting on the plane, everybody seated, all hand luggage stowed away, engines roaring and two conspicuously empty seats in front of us. Suddenly there was a mild commotion and a very red faced, flustered Tracey appeared, Ray trailing in her wake. Stu and I clapped whilst they tried to unobtrusively slink into their seats. Eventually we were in the air and Tracey related what had happened. She had quite happily meandered down to where she thought Gate 11 was, only to find it finished at Gate 9, and Gate 11 was totally in the other direction! By this time the boarding call was being announced so she had broken into a run, but it was a long, long way. Halfway there she was horrified to hear her name over the loudspeaker. “Tracey Bird, please proceed immediately to Gate 11. Your aircraft is ready for departure.” Suddenly she had become “that person” that everyone is waiting for. Much running and panting later she eventually arrived to where Ray stood anxiously waiting, and they were immediately ushered on to the plane. So much for a leisurely start to the holiday; I’m sure all our blood pressures had sky rocketed. It has however given us many laughs over the years, and suffice to say Tracey has never been late to a departure lounge again!
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”