By Jo Mixon
Did you know Jo is determined to be a more educated Chamber Executive?
So, I am in Athens, Georgia and I just attended opening ceremonies at Southeast Institute. I will be here for a full week furthering my Chamber education. But unless you are a friend of mine on Face Book, you may not know just how determined I really am to be here!
I left my home in Angel Fire on Saturday morning at 6:30 am to make it to Denver by noonish to catch a 2:15 pm flight to Atlanta, Georgia. From Atlanta I would catch a shuttle to Athens and arrive at my destination by 9:30pm to settle in and prepare for my week of US Chamber school that started today at the University of Georgia.
But….. it didn’t quit happen exactly as planned. While I was in between Cimarron and Raton on the road to nowhere, just me and the buffalo, the transmission of my car decided once again to take a vacation! (As you know I just had it replaced 6 weeks ago.)
My first thoughts, as I was traveling 65mph down the highway, singing at the top of my lungs, was…what did I just do? Both my hands were on the wheel, I hadn’t hit the gears, but my sweet little Macy Mazda began revving wildly and jumped out of gear. I pulled over to the side of the road and tried all the different gears without any luck. It would go into park, but nothing else.
My mind began racing with panic, “I have a plane to catch, not now Macy my trusted Mazda, not now! I just had this happen, you are suppose to be healthy and happy and run smoothly!! I have a plane to catch, I have school, we have paid the tuition, etc. etc. etc.” So being the super calm and collected professional that I am……I cried! Then I got my act together and started trying to make phone calls. I would hold the phone just right and get a few bars of reception, or I’d hike a few miles up or down the road to get two bars and be able to make a phone call. First I called Chris at 24/7 Automotive Performance, told him what happened and where I was. He said, “I’ll be there as fast as I can,” which because of my location, was an hour. Then I got a text through to my sister in Texas and asked her to look up phone numbers of rental car locations in Raton, Trinidad, and maybe Pueblo and text them to me. (I wasn’t sure how I would get to that rental car, but I was determined to get to school! I called my class advisor and filled him in on what was happening, just to be sure he knew.) At that point I was a mess.
I called Raton, they had a car I could pick up next Tuesday, I called Trinidad, they do NOT rent cars one way, I called Pueblo, they were completely out of cars and they suggested I call Colorado Springs. AArrgghh! Meanwhile I had gotten enough reception to post my dilemma on Facebook. I ran back up the road and could see lots of responses and friends in Angel Fire offering to help. Before another 30 minutes, a friend, Dorothy Thrasher was on her way to pick me up and was going to drive me all the way to Denver!!! I didn’t have time to make my original flight so I called the airlines and they were able to get me on a later flight. The kicker, the last flight available to Atlanta was 5:15 pm…..in the hour it would take Dorothy to pick me up and the remaining four hours it would take us to drive to Denver, I would barely make that connection. But as I told you before, I was determined!
Now I just had to wait for my two Trail Angels to arrive, so what to do? I took my luggage out of the car and sat it on the side of the road like in one of the old movies and sat on it….just because. I even put my thumb out for funsies! Then I found a container of cleaner-wipes in the back seat of my car.o I cleaned the inside of my car, the inside places when you open the doors and it is always so dirty, I cleaned the doors and the windows. After I ran out of cleaning sheets I still had time to kill, so I polished my fingernails!
Chris showed up, loaded my car onto a huge transport towing truck and said, “You look like you need a beer!” We drove back to Cold Beer to meet Dorothy and at 11:00 am I ordered a Moscow Mule! I’m not normally one to drink that early in the day, but it was delicious! Dorothy arrived at 11:45 am, Chris loaded my suitcases into her car and we were headed to Denver in a flash. It was smooth sailing until we rain into a horrible rain storm on the other side of Colorado Springs. It was heavy traffic slowed almost to a stop. But still Dorothy got me to the airport by 4:00pm, time enough to make my plane. (Whoo-Hoo, what an awesome friend Dorothy Thrasher, because now she had to turn around and drive 5 hours back home to Angel Fire!!)
I got into the airport to check my luggage and was told the plane was delayed 20 mins and I wouldn’t get to Atlanta until 10:10 pm. I called the shuttle I had reserved and they said, no problem we can pick you up in Atlanta at 10:30…this was only 20 mins. after I was to now arrive. But it wasn’t over yet. When we boarded, the pilot let us know they were going to hold the plane for another 10 or 15 minutes for a party of 13 people who had been shuffled around and were running through the Denver airport to catch this plane. Hmmm, so be it. I decided to just laugh it off and get comfortable. I arrived in Atlanta, ran as fast as I could (with a limp) to get my luggage, found the ground transportation area to the shuttle just as it was driving off in front of me. Again I called the shuttle service and was told not to worry, there would be another one at 11:40 pm, one hour away. Ok, so at least there was another shuttle and it was 92 degrees at 11:00 pm! (I was already missing my cool mountain home!)
At last, an hour later, I was safely on the shuttle from Atlanta to Athens and now only had another 2 hours left in this adventure. I arrived in Athens at 2:00 am. Happy to finally arrive at my destination, I checked into the hotel.
Today began a week of intensive educational training. If you have ever doubted my dedication to the Angel Fire Chamber and being able to better serve our businesses, please don’t! I love my job and the community we serve and want to be the best I can be for you! And by the way, my fingernails look great!