As I had anticipated, the delayed Denver-Tokyo flight resulted in my missing the connection to Manila. The night before, I had already been alerted with an email from United Airlines letting me know that my flight scheduled the next day was delayed. They had not counted on a four-hour delay and the collateral damage on most of us on the plane. Sensibly, the airline arranged a hotel room 15 minutes from the airport and included 'meal vouchers' as compensation for their scheduling kerfuffle.
Of course I was annoyed, sleepless and inconvenienced. But listening to the stories of the others who were also inconvenienced, how simple things like having the foresight to set up an international text and roaming plan, an iPad that charges and plugs into standard hotel outlets, not having to constantly count the pennies to see of I can afford a liter of water or just 8 ounces... It grounded me, not to make light of my own inconvenience but just for the broader perspective. Mostly we are all doing the best we can.
One American man didn't have the ability to reach his Filipina wife by text or email, instead needing an old school phone calling card and pay phone. One Chinese woman had the exhaustion of two tired kids to manage on top of her own as they figured out the best way to Beijjng. An elderly Vietnamese couple who spoke only their native tongue leaned on the kindness of other passengers and our charade-hand signaling skills to let them know what was happening.
And of course, the irony of ironies. Pictured here is the meal this hotel felt was what displaced American travelers needed from one night in Tokyo. Yes, Virginia, it is a hamburger meal