Sunday night after Thanksgiving is not when any sane person goes to the airport. But when you’re a Lyft driver, shitty traffic is your trade. That’s the point of paying someone to drive you I suppose — you got 99 problems but navigating bumper-to-bumper cars ain’t one.
After a drop off in Marina Del Rey (a crosstown romance between two USC students), I got a request for a pick up from Cortney (I’m using her name because she deserves it). I call to tell her I’m 10 minutes away and ask what terminal she’s in. As soon as a I hit World Way, it’s the lowest of Dante’s rings of Hell. Rental car buses, hotel buses, cabs, cars, Ubers, limos — all piled on top of each other, trying to inch through any narrow sliver of space that appears. I text Cortney to let her know I’m almost there but it’s slow going at the entrance. After maneuvering over 5 lanes of traffic to get to the curb, I finally reach Terminal 3. I reach for the phone to call her and tell her I’ve arrived… and SHE CANCELS THE LYFT. That’s right. Just up and cancels. She must have been waiting in the cab line when she requested me and she was jockeying to see which she’d get first. Great, now I had descended into Hades for no reason. No ride. No money. Nada. And there was no way I was even waiting outside the airport for a fare because my brain couldn’t handle one more go around this swarm of desperate, angry turkey-stuffed humans stuck in their metal cages.
As I waited behind a gas-farting bus, I fantasized, maybe on the way out, someone would request a Lyft. And maybe that person would live all the way over on the Eastside where I lived. Ah, maybe…
Suddenly the Lyft bell dinged on. A ride request from inside the airport!! I lunged for the phone and called J. “Hey I’m in the airport now but I’m halfway through the terminals and I can’t come back around so I don’t know if I can pick you up. Where are you?”
“I’m in the International Terminal.”
I looked out my window to locate myself. “Oh my god, I’m in the International Terminal right now! Where are you?”
“I’m by Thai Airways.”
“I’m by Thai Airways!!!”
I pulled over immediately and J came running up, saddled with backpacks, huge grin on his face, big beautiful dimples. He had just come back from 3 weeks in Southeast Asia where he was filming his travel webseries and he had no idea that he’d booked his return flight on one of the busiest travel days in the US. When he stepped out into the mayhem, he thought maybe he’d try this Lyft thing. And boom — there I was. And there he was. Not a coincidence but surely an act of God. And guess what? He was going to the EASTSIDE. “You ARE my angel,” I whooped. He told me I was his angel. And we angel-ed the shit out of each other all the way home.
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a happy ending.