Thursday morning began with a jolt – the phone rang at 5:30 a.m. I am always anxious about phone calls between say, midnight and 6:00 in the morning worried that they’re bringing bad news. Startled, I reached over for the phone and hit the light to see who was calling. It was American Airlines telling me that my flight to the ABA Labor and Employment Section Council Meeting had been canceled. I had been scheduled to leave on a direct flight to Miami and the agent was now saying I could get out the next day. The problem was that the Council dinner was on Thursday night and I really wanted to be there for that. So, I called American again and worked with the agent who got me rescheduled. But the new flight meant I had to leave a lot earlier than I had anticipated and when you are a last minute arriver at the airport, an hour is a lot.
It was also coincidentally garbage day and I had to get all the garbage out to the curb. I can’t put my garbage out the night before like most people because I have a neighbor (unknown to me) who, when I put my garbage out overnight, spreads it up and down the street and also moves my garbage can down the block. That vandalism has occurred several times, so I always put my garbage out the morning of collection. Anyway, that’s a long way of saying that I had to get my garbage out and get packed, get dressed, go by the bank and get money, and get to the airport! I got on the move, got everything done, got in the car, got to the airport, got the flight just fine and arrived at the transfer point in Dallas. Dallas was uneventful except for the fact the connection was a little bit tight, and there had been no time for breakfast earlier in the morning. The only thing close to my gate in Dallas was Popeye’s Chicken and I know that is a horrible way to start the morning, but nevertheless, that was brunch on the plane.

I had tried to get an upgrade based on my frequent flier status, but the plane was full and I ended up sitting next to the person who was number two on the wait list for an upgrade. His name is Steven Stevens. He works for Texas Dow Employees Credit Union and he turned out to be pretty interesting. He had been a manager for many, many years and we talked about managing and different ways he problem solves and his philosophy of managing.

He informed me about issues raised by e-banking and some of the new trends and the different types of products the creAirportdit union was trying to focus on marketing to younger people and trying to determine what kind of services might make the credit union more attractive to them. It was such an interesting conversation that before we knew it, we were landing in Miami. Coincidentally when I arrived at XNA Bobby Jones, our alum, was on the same plane. He and Steven (the banker) were both going to Key West. Steven was going for a managerial retreat and Bobby for a hearing. They dashed off to make their tight connection to Key West.

As I wandered through the terminal I ran into Mike Posner who was one of the very first people I met when I became involved in the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Committee on Ethics and Professionalism. I snuck up on him while he was buying a sandwich and joined he and his family (his daughter Michaela and his wife Cassandra) while they had their lunch. I was still nursing the Popeye’s.

Our flight from Miami to St. Thomas was delayed and while waiting for it, I ran into a number of other people who were going to the Section meeting. Wendy Nutt, Joel D. Alba, and ChrisDrinkstine Cooper and her husband, Ricky, and Steve and Erin Moore, were all on the same flight. Steve was past Co-Chair of our Committee and he’s now Co-Chair of the Section’s newsletter. He, Erin, and I are really good friends. I don’t see Erin as much as I see Steve, so we took that opportunity to catch up while we were waiting for our delayed flight. Coincidentally, on the flight, Steve’s seat was next to mine so we visited. He talked to me about an interesting case he’s working on. Steve is a partner at Baker Hostetler in Denver and has tried over 100 jury trials. He is a constitutional law expert, especially in terms of workplace issues. He will be representing the City of Denver during the Democratic national convention around first amendment issues. Steve is a fascinating, brilliant person, but he’s very low key so you wouldn’t know it. You’d have to get to know him tDrinkso learn all the amazing things that he’s doing. That flight went by pretty quickly as well. We had one small glitch on the flight and that was that it hit a pretty rough patch of turbulence. He and I both thought it was over – and you’re talking two people who fly a lot. The thing that made it so disturbing was that it apparently spooked the flight attendant who came on the overhead p.a. system and shrieked a pretty shrill, “Get in your seats!!”

We landed safely and were met by a woman holding a sign saying “ABA,” which is always a great feeling because you know you don’t have to hassle about anything; sCartomebody’s going to get you where you’re going. They packed us up in a van and took us way out about 15 miles from the airport to the beautiful Ritz-Carlton hotel on the water. When we arrived, there was a young man who greeted us with tropical punch fruit drinks. They felt great having been in the heat and humidity for a while. The woman who greeted us asked if our flight had been delayed. When we said yes, she said, “Oh, it’s always delayed and the one going back in the morning will be delayed, too, so count on it.” After checking in we had a guy in a golf cart drive us each to our rooms, which were beautiful. And, that was Thursday.