Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 20


The Time Mookie Got To Take The Corporate Jet

What I "do" for a living is pretty mundane in the whole scheme of the world.  I get up, I go to work, I do what I do with little or no major difficulty for the most part, and then I go home.  From what I understand, approximately 70% of the rest of the working people in the United States have about the same experience (FYI:  I made up that statistic). 

Based on this little intro, I’m sure you can easily understand that when an opportunity to travel for work came up one day, I was pretty excited at the prospect.  I was asked to travel to our offices in Louisville, Kentucky and assist with some “business task reviews” we had going on there.  After checking with the wife about any upcoming need-to-be-home family obligations, I told management I could go for 3 days.  An hour later, I received the flight/hotel itinerary for my already-booked trip.  A few weeks later I jetted off to Louisville for a few days.  The work was mind exhausting, but not terrible thanks to the group of co-workers I traveled with.  They were all “fun” people, and we managed to have “fun” on the company dime, so it all worked out.  However, the project turned out to be a larger scope than originally intended, and management wanted me to make additional and frequent trips to Louisville over the next few months.  Sadly the commitment was more than I could contribute to, and had to largely back out of the project after that.  It was disappointing.

A few months later, one of the managers in my area asked me if I could again travel to Louisville, but to work on a related, but smaller aspect of the project I went down there for before.  I checked with the spouse, and was good to go for another short 3 day trip.  What made this whole thing extra sweet was that since the entire “Louisville” project was a high priority deal for the company, they were allowing some leeway when it came to travel spending allowances (i.e. drinks).  They also made various “perks” available to our group that are normally not bestowed to lower-class employee.  We were all ecstatic when we found out that the biggest “perk” was available for this trip.  To make a long story short, they let us take the corporate jet.
The. Corporate. Jet.

“Giddy” does not even come close to the excitement the people in my group were feeling about this opportunity.  Our company allegedly has two jets:  a 7 seat jet, and an 8 seat jet.  We got the 7-seater.  They told us to arrive at this hangar that resides on airport property, but next to the main airport terminal.  One nice thing here was that we didn't have to park in the outer reaches of the long-term parking.  The private jet place has its own private parking lot.  Booyah. Everyone showed up at 5:45 AM for our 6AM flight, and met in the "executive lounge" in the hangar.  The lounge was on ground level as you walked into building, and had windows that looked out onto the airport tarmac.  Outside the building sat our jet, as well as a few others that presumably belong to other big-shot companies in the area.  A person came around and took all of our bags that we weren't going to carry on the plane, and went out and put them in the holding area in the nose of the plane.  Then – this is the best part - the two pilots showed up, looked at the passenger log, made sure we were accounted for, and one of them said “Alright!  Let’s go!”  They led us out onto the tarmac and into the jet.

If you have travelled commercially, you can understand how AWESOME this situation would be.  No bag scanning. No bitchy desk attendants asking if you have had control of your bags the entire time.  No intrusive TSA body scans/pat-downs.  I could have had drugs, razor blades, and a shotgun. No problem!  Had they known someone was carrying those things, I’m sure they would have been highly discouraged.  But they didn’t even check.  That’s what I’m talking about! 

Down the runway we flew and an hour later (AN HOUR!) we landed in Louisville.  We pulled into a similar “corporate executive” hangar there, and deboarded.  The rest of the trip went much like the 1st one, and fun was had by all.  On the way back home on the corporate jet, we raided the mini-fridge and drank all the beer and assorted mini-liquor bottles.  It is safe to say we were living large.  We landed at home, and certainly appreciated what would probably be our once-in-a-lifetime chance of riding the corporate jet.

BUT THEN.

A few weeks later, the manager that asked me to work on this smaller part of the project asked me if I needed to go back to Louisville to get a better handle on anything I was doing.  I said I thought I was OK, plus I didn't want to be gone for a few days.  She smiles and says, "well I know the jet is going down in a few weeks - for the day."

FOR THE DAY?  Yeah, I can manage that.

So I got registered with the corporate jet people and was good to go.  So, again I showed up like last time just before 6AM.  I was the only person from my group going, and was riding down there with a bunch of "suits," which was hilarious.

We boarded and took off for Louisville lickity split.  We landed, took the cab into downtown to the office, and I met up with my people for my additional "knowledge gathering."  The lady I was sitting with had a lunch appointment, so I was free to do whatever I wanted for a good hour.  So I walked around downtown Louisville, and just hung out.

After lunch, I went back and finished up all the work I needed to do for the day, packed up and caught a cab back to the airport about 3PM.  During all the trips to Louisville me and my co-workers made, we had a met a cab driver named "Earl."  We called him exclusively whenever we had to go somewhere in Louisville, because he was awesome.  Plus he loved us and would come take us anywhere.  I had called Earl before I left the office and set it up for him to meet us at 3.  The suits were impressed with my swagger in dealing with "Earl."  We hit the airport, met our pilots, boarded, and we were off.  I made myself at home again in the mini-bar and tried to get the suits to share in my "trip enjoyment" but I only was able to get one taker.

An hour later at 4PM, we were on the ground at home.  I knew my office was having a "meeting" where they served beer at that time, so buzzed back over to the office, and had a cold drink in my hand by 4:15.

"Where were you today?" Someone asked me.

"Oh.  Louisville."  I said.

"Have you been down there all week?"  They asked.

"Oh.  No.  Just for the day.  On the corporate jet." I said with a smile and a nice sip of my beer.

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