One Time My Kid Got On the Wrong Plane

I am and always will be one of those moms who wants their kids to be independent and have adventures and not be coddled. But I am also one of those worst-case-scenario moms who stresses the heck out whenever I am not with them. So, apparently because of this, my daughter, Em, does super stressful things throughout her life:

Be the flyer for cheerleading

Jump off buildings in stunt camps

Go to Israel to study Krav Maga when there are missiles

Be female.

Join the Army.

There’s a trend here, right? Almost always, Em is okay because she is smart and competent and most of the time my mommy fears do not happen, but one of my biggest mommy fears happened on this date.

My daughter got on the wrong plane at a NY airport and I was not there. She was fourteen. FOURTEEN!

It happened.

So the Emster was done with this super cool Fresh Film Program in New York City (more about that in another blog) and she was flying home. She did everything right:

1. She got a car and had money to pay it. She got in the car at 8 a.m.
2. She told the driver she wanted to go to US Airways at Laguardia Airport.
3. She buckled her seat belt. Gold star, Em! Gold star!

But then things went wrong. There was an accident. Traffic stalled. She was stuck there for about an hour. But finally they moved again. The driver dropped her off at the airport, but wait — He dropped her off at the United terminal. Em realized this once she gets inside because she was/is brilliant.

She asked for help. Twice. She ran to the shuttle for the other terminal. The shuttle bus doors had just closed. She looked hopeless. 

 Em is the one smiling with teeth. 😉

Hopeless didn’t work as a look. What could she do?

So, instead she goes into Looking Cute mode. The shuttle bus doors magically opened.  She asked the driver for help. He told her to hop on. She did.

There were a MILLION stops but they finally arrive at the terminal. She rushed to the kiosk to get her boarding pass but she didn’t have a credit card because she is a kid and she can’t pay the $20 for her luggage. Someone else helps. She gave them cash. How cool is that person? Super cool, honestly.

The airport people didn’t even make her weigh her suitcase. Score! (Note: Shoes are heavy. Em likes shoes). 

She found the Security Screening all by herself. She made it through. She found her gate all by herself.

It was 9:30. Her plane was supposed to leave at 10.

There was nobody milling around like normal. Em, being the astute little camper that she is, went to the woman at the little podium/counter thing and asked if this was the gate for the Bangor, Maine flight.

Woman: That flight is closed.

Em: !!!!!

She decided to look cute again.

Woman (speaks into walkie-talkie): MUMBLE MUMBLE.

Em: ?????!!!!

Woman (to Em):
 Okay. You can go out. The plane is on the tarmac.

They let her through the doors. She is rushed to the airplane, and she climbed up the stairs, got on, looked at her ticket and then said to the flight attendant: 
Is this the plane to Bangor, Maine?

Flight attendant person: No. This is the plane to Buffalo.


Flight attendant person:
 The Bangor plane is behind us, I think.

So Em ran down the stairs, across the tarmac and towards a plane that was completely obscured by the Buffalo plane. She dropped things on the tarmac. She picked things up. She ran. She scrambled up the flight of stairs and said, “Is this the plane to Bangor?”

It was.

But wait! 

Her seat was gone. 

“NO!!!!!!!!” Em screamed.

But they let her sit in the exit row all by herself. She buckled up and made it. Nobody kidnapped her. She did not fly to Buffalo. She flew home. 

She is amazing.

And cute.


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And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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