"On behalf of British Airways, I'd like to welcome you to Los Angeles. Oh, but we've lost a bit of your wheelchair."
I found myself remembering the final shot of Serenity as a piece fell away from Serenity itself. A piece about the same shape as the one missing from my wheelchair. I could even picture the Captain, somewhere over the Atlantic, turning to a somewhat unstable co-pilot and saying "What was that?"
As I sat at the customer service desk and they showed little interest in either finding or replacing my skirtguard (like I'm ever gonna wear a skirt. They should call it a buttguard) it all came flooding back to me why I was never going to fly BA again.
In 1997, they lost my suitcase. And then found it about 10 minutes before the deadline by which they'd have to compensate me. Of course, I didn't get it for a couple more days by the time it had been sent to the hotel.
I'm not much of a crier, but, yesterday I did discover the power of turning on the waterworks. As the tears rolled the Duty Manager fo BA pulled me outside, whipped out his mobile (or "cell" I suppose over here) and called the manufacturers of my chair - who handily happen to be here in California (which does make it somewhat slow when Camden and Islington Wheelchair Service have to order parts to be sent to the UK. Maybe I should stock up on spare wheels while I'm here?). As the LA sun baked dry the tears on my cheeks, he was getting a quote for a replacement part. He still wanted me to buy it and claim the money back when I pass through San Francisco airport on my way home in a couple of weeks, but at least a weeping girly prompted him to at least be somewhat helpful.
The irony is of course, once I got out of my chair to load it into a shuttle to head for the youth hostel, the buttguard fell out of the backrest. How the hell it got in the backrest I do not know. But, hey. I got got bemused look as I shrieked with excitement at the shuttle driver who presumably thought me less than sane getting excited over a funny shaped bit of plastic. Those two hours of weeping and trying to elicit some kind of helpful response from anyone working for BA were for nothing.
I'm in California. It is sunny. I am indoors. Must fix that.