Kim, Rick and A1C Knox

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm here! I'm in London! And it's been a really long day - I was up at 4:30am MDT to call Fed Ex about my UK passport, and it's now 12:45 GMT, so that's 26.25 hours so far, and it'll probably be about 36 hours by the time I hit the sack tonight. I slept on the plane more than I expected to, but I'm still in a bit of a fog.

For those of you who weren't following the blow-by-blow on Twitter, (at goseeruneatdrnk, or in the sidebar over there --->) I got word on Friday that my UK passport had FINALLY arrived in Winnipeg, and it was put in a Fed Ex for Saturday delivery to me in Calgary. On Saturday morning I tracked it online and discovered it was scheduled for delivery on Monday, June 15... too late. I phoned Fed Ex and it turns out there was some kind of confusion about whether it had been marked for Saturday delivery or not. It was still in Winnipeg, and not due to arrive in Calgary until about midnight on Saturday; my flight was scheduled to leave at 9:30am on Sunday.

I have to hand it to Fed Ex - I told them the package contained my passport, and I was leaving the country on Sunday, and they made it happen. The service rep I talked to put me in touch with Kim at the Calgary Depot, and Kim got in touch with a manager, and the manager left instructions for the ramp crew. These are the guys who work the overnight shift loading and unloading planes. He asked them to rifle through the Winnipeg container and find my envelope, and then asked that one of them hand-deliver it to me at my sister's house on his way home from work.

And so it was that I met Rick from the night shift, who wasn't even a delivery guy. He knocked quietly on the door at 5:10 am and got a hug and a big thank you in exchange for this:

My UK passport and original citizenship certificate, with appropriate product placement.

So I got on the plane in Calgary, and I spent a long layover in Chicago killing time and Skyping. The London flight left on time, and I ended up sitting next to a young woman in the American Air Force. We chatted a bit over dinner and it turns out that her day was just as exciting and momentous as mine. Airman First Class Knox, 18 years old, was on her way to her first duty assignment since completing basic and technical training. She was heading for a 2-year deployment at Lakenheath. And, it was her first trip out of the country. I said, "And I thought I was having a big day!"

I slept more than I expected to on the plane, which was good. And then as we began our approach to London I finally started to get excited about this whole thing. So A1C Knox and I looked out the window and said things like, "It's so green!", and "The cars look like they're going backwards", and generally enjoyed the moment. It was nice to have someone to share with.

Customs in London was a complete non-event with the precious EU passport. Instead of waiting in the line of about 50 people in one of those cattle-pen kind of set-ups, I waited in a line of... oh wait, there was NO LINE. I breezed up to a waiting customs official, handed over my shiny new passport, and was through in about 20 seconds. I think I will really like this dual-citizenship thing.

There will be more later, but for now I think I'll post this so everyone knows I'm here, safe and content. The hostel is, not surprisingly, somewhat dingier than pictured, and my room is an absolute sauna. However, I'm about two blocks from the British Museum so can I really complain? Perhaps I'll stroll over there now.

Rosetta Stone, anyone?


John Bent Jr. said...

If you ever need extra cash, you can do a commercial for Fed-Ex......

You don't hear about that kind of customer service these days....

Heather Moore said...

Holy - now THAT is service. Nice!

Heather Moore said...

oooooh British museum!!!! oooooh SO jealous. Say hi to it for me. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just added you to my Twitter. Even more opportunities to live vicariously


megan said...

What brilliant customer service!

Looking forward to following your travels :)

Lisa said...

Can't wait to hear about the London hashers!!

Unknown said...

All hail to Fedex... that's incredible!!!

Enjoy the museum, and happy hashing!!

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