Monday, October 6, 2014

Not Just The Pats Had a Bad Week In KC...

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, October 6, 2014

By Bill Gouveia

            If you think only the Patriots had a terrible time in Kansas City last week, think again.  I’m pretty sure my son and I had an even more stressful and painful experience visiting the hospitable Mid-West.  And almost all of it was my fault.

            It was with great enthusiasm and optimism I set out early last Monday with plans of watching my beloved Patriots battle the Chiefs.  I took a very early morning flight out of Providence to connect with my youngest son in Baltimore.  Our plan was to fly on to our destination and enjoy some time there.

            But almost immediately, things went wrong.  Or more correctly – I went wrong.

            While my son was fighting airport traffic, I was waiting at the gate – or so I thought.  Turned out I was next to the gate, but in the wrong line.  After my son arrived, we shortly thereafter realized we were about to board a plane headed to Florida.  We dashed across the aisle to try and make our intended flight.

            However, it had been overbooked.  When we did not board on time, they gave our seats to someone else.  We watched helplessly as our plane sat at the gate taunting us, then pulled away leaving us behind.

            A very helpful airline staff member proceeded to try and help us.  The first flight she offered us would have gotten into KC at 7:25 pm for a 7:30 pm game.  The alternatives slowly got better, but not enough to guarantee we could make it to the nationally televised Monday night contest.

            Eventually, we had to settle for flying into St. Louis, renting a car, and driving nearly four hours across the entire state to Kansas City.  If you have ever driven Interstate 70, you know it is a straight and flat highway through some of the most boring sights you could ever ask to see.  Picture the Mass Pike with no hills or valleys.  I’m surprised my son didn’t kill me on the ride.

            We had to drive a half-hour past our hotel when we got to Kansas City because we needed to go to the airport.  Unlike me, my bag was smart enough to get on the correct flight and was waiting there for me with a mocking attitude.

            When I reached for my driver’s license to claim my bag, I nearly passed out.  My license was no longer in my pocket.  I did get the bag, but headed to the hotel wondering how I was going to board a flight home the next day.  And hoping my son’s sense of humor was still intact.

            A search of the car failed to turn up my license, and off to the game we went.  Just as the National Anthem began to play, Avis called me to say they found my license – in St. Louis.  I knew I would not have it in time for my flight tomorrow, but sat back determined to at least enjoy the game.

            Ah yes, the game.  It was a nightmare from start to finish.  It was extremely loud, and none of that was due to us cheering.  Chief fans – always polite – were actually feeling sorry for us.

            After a delicious BBQ lunch the next day, it was off to the airport.  Fortunately I still had identification, but needed something with a photo.  I was finally saved not by my credit cards, but by a BJs Club card with a scratched up picture of me from at least 15 years ago.

            That got me into the security area, where I was thoroughly frisked by a dedicated TSA agent.  I’m pretty sure he and I are now considered legally married in several countries. 

            My son kept a close eye on me as we waited for our plane home, and insisted on walking me to the new gate when we got to Baltimore where he left me to my own devices.  He may have secretly watched from afar for a while.

            I did manage to make it back to Norton without further incident, a minor miracle in and of itself. My wife and I are now scheduled to travel to Buffalo this weekend to again watch the Pats game.

            She insists on driving.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist, longtime Patriots season-ticket holder, and terrible traveler.  He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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