He Wants To See You Smile

I don’t know about you but I find myself taking some things for granted. I tend to forget how blessed my life is until God says, “Wait a minute.”

One major blessing is that I work for an airline as a Gate Agent boarding and deplaning passengers on flights.

A huge benefit of working for the airlines is having a fleet of airplanes at your disposal to go anywhere they fly. I mean anywhere.

Domestic flights are free and international flights have tariffs upon return. Charlotte to Dublin, for example, costs $41.

When I say I’m blessed, I mean… I am blessed.

Flying for free has it’s set of challenges that are just a part of the adventure. You cannot set concrete plans because you have to fly on standby.

Most trips are pretty straight forward since you plan your flights based on how many seats are available.

Last night flying to Chicago (ORD) proved to be extra challenging.

I listed myself on a flight at 5:00pm that was tight with only four seats open. After checking in the night before I was number 3 on the list.

When I got to the gate one hour before the flight, I was number 12. Needless to say I did not get a seat on that flight.

After rolling over to the next flight I was number 11 with only six seats open. It appeared grim until the size of the aircraft was swapped out for a larger plane.

Suddenly there were plenty of open seats and the Agents presented me a boarding pass. I thought, “Great! I’m on my way.”

When I scanned my boarding pass the screen turned red with the message, “Your seat assignment has been changed.” The Agent apologized and shared that due to the upgraded aircraft many more passengers were booked but never checked in. “Oh, so close.”

I moved onto to the gate of my third flight. This time I had a two hour gap before it was scheduled to board, so I went to grab a bite to eat. I wondered if it was worth the effort at this point. Should I really wait two more hour only to be rejected? Again?

When I got to my new gate I was now four seats away from winning the trip to see my sister. I was not optimistic thinking I might have to retry in the morning.

Now I realized that the worst thing I could do in this situation was reveal my frustration. Instead I smiled and said thanks and went to the corner of the waiting area.

Miraculously as the flight was about to close I was summoned to board. “Yes!” I almost thought out loud. I had a seat.

I was thrilled but felt a little guilty knowing that someone lost their seat due to a delayed connecting flight.

I climbed aboard and upon arriving at my seat the row was filled. Apparently I was mistakenly assigned a seat already occupied.

This happens more than people realize. I have been seated before only to have a revenue passenger show up forcing me off the plane.

As I did a u-turn to head back off the plane I was thinking this is what it feels like for a salmon swimming upstream.

Again my fortune changed when the Agent said, “Mike. You’re now in 16F.”

I was relieved but the cruel reality struck me when a passenger behind me was removed from the flight since he boarded later than me. Wow! That was close. Poor guy.

I wasn’t absolutely certain my fortune was for real until I heard the doors close. Then the plane backed away from the gate. I was truly on my way.

I am blessed to have a job I love that allows me to take a trip on a moment’s notice. Thank you Lord for Your favor.

Do you realize how blessed and highly favored you are? God wants to fulfill the desires of your heart. He loves to see you smiling.


Driving in Ireland

There are more benefits than draw backs to driving in Ireland.

Driving on the opposite side of the street from what we are used to is nerve wrecking.

What we consider a one way street, Irish people will happily use as a two way road, and they drive fast.

The town streets are narrow and many of the roads in the outlying countryside are so tight you have to pull into the bushes or back out to an intersection or open field.

The countryside is beautiful. There are rolling green hills everywhere you look filled with sheep and cattle.

And the coastline is breathtaking.

There is greater freedom to see the country with a rental and much cheaper than hiring a private driver or paying for tours.

Gasoline is expensive compared to our gas prices at home. It is priced by the liter so be prepared to spend closer to $70 per tank verses $50.

If you can get a vehicle that runs on diesel you will save some money.

Fuel costs in Ireland


In the five days we drove 1,650 kilometers (or 1,025 miles). We spent €100 on diesel fuel ($110).

After five days of driving I felt better about it and I was able to see more of the surroundings rather than focusing so hard to stay in my lane.


Here are some things to consider when renting a car.

> Know that automatics are scarce.

Upgrades will be offered because most of the cars in Ireland are manual. Keep in mind that your upgrade will most likely be a larger vehicle which can make the tight roads even tighter.

> If you are offered an upgrade on your rental consider not taking it. Especially if the vehicle is a full size SUV.

Some of the countryside has very tight roads and a lot of rolling hills which is a little scary when you cannot see who is coming over the hilltop.

> Consider using your Google Maps app instead of paying for the rentals’ GPS or Garmen.

Their maps are not always updated. Even when they say they are.

You may want to update your app on your phone to include the latest maps before you leave the States.

> Don’t worry about driving slow. The Irish are used to foreigners’ timid driving.

> Consider picking up your rental outside of the larger cities like Dublin.

Driving in the major cities is a greater challenge due to the obvious… more traffic.

There are roundabouts everywhere in Ireland. Especially in the cities where you may have five or six exits off a roundabout.

Have fun and enjoy the adventure.

Additional reading