I know I’ve shared in the past some of the things that I have encountered while traveling. Things like strikes, riots, protests, political things. Looking back, deep down it is weird to comprehend what I have experienced and the things that I have seen. I have not seen anything by some people’s standards and I am okay with that. The experiences I have had have shaped me and I don’t be anything too excessively eventful to happen to me.
That being said, on one of my last trips, I came close to experiencing something I never wanted to experience and I hope I never actually experience. I’m not sure if people heard about the false alarm shooting that happened at LAX in August 2016. I was not at the airport but I was sitting on an airplane in Seattle grounded when I found out.
It was such an interesting experience because I had so many different perspectives happening throughout this entire experience. It just so happened to be a day in which I knew multiple people flying in and out of LAX at the same time.
I got the news after boarding the airplane and waiting for some movement. Our pilot got on the intercom system at our take off time to tell us that he hated to be the one to give us the bad news, but we were grounded indefinitely because of a shooter at LAX. He would give us an update in an hour and the crew was going to try and make us as comfortable as possible while we stayed on the aircraft. At that moment, it dawned on me that my coworker was taking a red eye out of LAX and my friend’s husband left Portland an hour before us. She started texting him and family back in LA. We didn’t hear from him since he was on the flight but the family in LA sent us news updates. I texted my coworker who knew that something was going on but if he hadn’t received a phone call from our manager, he wouldn’t have known. All was calm and normal in his terminal. In fact, they were still scheduled to depart on time. My manager was texting me because his wife was there when the running and evacuation started. And later, I found out another coworker was trapped in a car at the airport for three hours while trying to pick up family members.
All this was happening as I sat on an aircraft wondering if I was going to make it home or if I was going to stay in Seattle for the night. And it was interesting. It was surreal to be constantly refreshing my google search and Twitter to get live updates on the situation. Just a few years ago, this wouldn’t have been the case. As I sat there on the plane trying to figure out what was going on, it was a surreal experience wondering what was going to happen. I can’t imagine what it would have been like it I had been in LAX at that moment. But I’m glad I wasn’t. And I feel for those that were.
Flying back and getting to LA was an experience. I was too tired by the time we left Seattle to stay awake for the flight. We landed in LA and the airport was packed with all the delayed flights but at the same time it felt empty. It was a strange feeling walking through that airport.
I’m okay never having that experience again. But it just adds to another portion of my life that shapes how I view and see the world and my travel.