Don’t Just Follow The Crowd

Back in the high flying times of the 1980s, there were several of my contractor friends that enjoyed going to Las Vegas, as did I. There were about 10 or 12 couples this one particular weekend that all left Austin on Southwest Airlines together bound for a great fun filled weekend in Vegas. It was a flight that took us through Tucson, Az but we weren’t suppose to de-plane, just a short stop-over.

It was a fun flight with a festive atmosphere. I never heard anything said that I thought was out of line. Just a lot of fun and partying. When we arrived in Tucson they had us all get off the plane. It was explained another flight was coming in from another city and they were going to combine the two flights. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal, but after sitting there for a couple of hours it started to become a big deal.

Finally it came time to leave. Madeline and I boarded quickly and took our seats. (Imagine that, I was standing at the front of the line) We got seated and we started hearing that one guy in our party, for the sake of this story I’ll call him James Mathers, wasn’t going to be allowed back on the plane. Others in our group were getting back on to retrieve their carry on’s, then getting back off.

In a move of solidarity Madeline and I got our stuff and got off the plane. We all vowed to never fly Southwest again. It took me all of about about two weeks to break that vow.

What was later explained was there was a black male flight attendant that James referred to as boy. “Hey boy, bring me another drink”, I think is what was said.

No mention was made the entire 2 hours, only when we were ready to board again is when it came up.

Anyway here we are, about two dozen Texans with pockets full of cash wanting to get started gambling. So we headed down the way to get on the next plane headed to Vegas. There were no more planes headed to Vegas. Things were shutting down for the night.

If we held over we could all get on flights early the next morning. But some of us really wanted to get there that night. We checked charter buses. No luck. Finally one in our group, a truck salesman, a real flashy guy had connections where we were staying. The Tropicana. He called and they sent 2 planes for us. That would only accommodate about 16 of us, so a few couples decided to get a room and catch an early flight the next morning on an airline other than Southwest.

It took awhile to get the 2 charter planes mobilized in Vegas and sent to Tucson. If I remember correctly, the planes finally arrived between 2:30 AM and 3:00 AM. Departed Tucson and then watched the sun rising as we flew over the Grand Canyon into Las Vegas.

At the airport we gathered our belonging and headed for the hotel. As we stood in line, dead tired, waiting to check in we looked up to see the rest of our party, the ones that stayed behind, come walking in all rested and ready to play.

When a casino sends a plane for you in the middle of the night, the cost is about $1,800 per couple. This is a part of the story I could easily not admit to. But it’s what really happened. So there you go.

The only thing I’ve never really figured out. Why did Madeline let me ever get up and get off the plane?

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