Have you ever been trapped in an airport before? Stuck in some airport far away from your home, waiting for a flight that seems like it will never leave. A lot of people have, and I don't claim to be any expert on the matter even though it's happened to me on numerous occasions, but I think I've got some insight into it that not a lot of people have reached.
Most people get out of the airport eventually so they'll probably never witness what my friend and I saw once when we were were stuck in Salt Lake City trying to get to New York City.
We had missed our connecting flight to New York, and the next one was four hours away and overbooked. So our likelihood of escaping the ebullient town of the predominantly Mormon Salt Lake City wasn't good. We felt like Neil Page in the middle of "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," when he landed in Wichita and saw Ben Stein put up the cancelled sign.
It might be important to mention that my friend Matt and I were delirious from a cross-country drive from Atlanta to Denver, that amazingly we completed in less than 20 hours.
But our unprecedented feat was in the back of our minds after we realized we might have to spend a half a day in Salt Lake, just thought of connecting there made me quiver.
Anyway, delirious and exhausted, we slumped down in these really comfortable airport chairs they have there where the metal jabs you awake every time you doze off.
What could we do for four hours? Although most of our senses were grossly diminished, our curiosity was not. Walking through the concourse, we noticed some young kid handing over luggage and changing into a green vest. He then picked up a dustpan and started sweeping.
With some investigation, we found out that he had once missed a flight as well earlier that day. He had been recruited by some non-descript man in a black trenchcoat and was given a job in the airport.
This is what happens when you miss a flight in Salt Lake City. The airport envelops you, captures you, and puts you into servitude so that you can never leave. SLC International has never substantiated this for me, but just ask any person who works at Burger King or has a green vest there.
Miraculously, we didn't get pulled into the airport trap after we caught the next flight leaving for New York.
But if we missed the flight, who knows if we ever would have made it out.
Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .