Opinion

How Alex Boye's 'Lemonade' helped me after I missed my flight home

Posted June 2

One of my favorite summer songs is “Lemonade” by Alex Boye, and boy, have I needed the catchy tune stuck in my head over the weekend! The chorus sings:

“When life gives you lemons

It's gonna be OK

Don't worry little children

And don't complain

Remember you're golden

So find some sugar cane

When life gives you lemons

Make lemonade!”

I flew out to California with my mom and baby over the weekend to give a fireside in Saratoga. Because I was trying to get back home to my other boys, and so my husband could get to work, I scheduled a ridiculously early morning flight out for Monday morning, leaving at 6:15 a.m. Which meant I had to wake my sleeping baby at 4 a.m.

We had heard that security lines were absurdly long and that we should get to the airport “early.” I thought an hour and a half was plenty of time.

I was wrong.

As we hurried to TSA screening, my heart sank. Back and forth the line zigzagged, clear to the elevators at the far end.

“It’s about an hour from this point,” a TSA worker told us. “The pilots are aware of the situation, and we are doing our best to make sure you get to your flight on time.”

An hour. That’s about how long we had until our flight left.

I began to pray. Please, please, please let us make our flight. I need to get home.

Time seemed to speed up the closer we got to the front of the line. I watched in a panic as the clock ticked forward 5:45 … 5:50 … 5:59. Finally, we had all our things (a stroller, a car seat, a laptop and case, my suitcase, my mom’s suitcase, our shoes, jackets and purses) on the conveyor belt.

I almost crawled onto the belt to retrieve them as they came through, and I didn’t even stop to put my baby back in the stroller. The clock said 6:08 a.m. Tucking my son under one arm and throwing all my stuff on top of the stroller, I ran in my flip-flops all the way down to our gate.

Breathing heavily, I smiled at the woman at the counter and handed her my boarding pass.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” she said. “We just shut the door.”

I looked out the window at the plane, which was still sitting there with the ramp attached to the door. “But it’s right there! Oh, please, please can you open the door?”

“Sorry,” she said again. “We close the door 10 minutes prior to departure.”

“But it’s not 6:15 yet! And we were told they would be holding the flight for us,” I protested, getting anxious now as I realized she wasn’t going to budge.

“Please,” I begged, close to tears. “I have to get home to my children.”

“I am going to have to call security,” she said, picking up her walkie-talkie.

Stunned, I shut my mouth and continued to seethe as passenger after passenger arrived at the gate, and watched, deflated, as our ride home slowly pulled away.

The next flight available was at 1:20 p.m. — seven hours later. I was suddenly exhausted. What was I going to do with my baby in an airport for seven hours? If there was ever a day that soured fast, this was it. Sobbing, I found an empty chair and held my equally exhausted baby as my mom walked up to the customer service counter to see what our options were.

We discovered there was another flight that left at 10:30 a.m., but it was overbooked. The chances of us getting on standby were slim to none, and it would cost each of us a pretty penny to try and make it happen. Still, we decided to cough up the cash and cross our fingers, hoping we could make it on.

Four long hours later, we walked back to the gate and anxiously waited to see if our names were called. No such luck. Then, after it seemed we would be waiting another three hours for the 1:20 p.m. flight, a man walked up to me and asked if I was waiting on standby.

“Yes,” I said, trying to hold in the tears again. “We’ve been here since 5 a.m.”

“What?” he said. “Well, we are going to Vegas and would be happy to give up our seats so you can get home. We don’t need to be anywhere in a hurry. We’re going for my son’s 21st birthday!” He pointed to his son, who smiled and waved.

He walked up to the desk and said he would take vouchers so we could get his family’s seats.

“Now hold on,” the lady said before I threw myself into his arms. “There are still three more standby people in front of you. Which means only one seat is available.”

It was down to the wire, and we were still waiting on one more passenger. As luck would have it (for us), she was a no-show. With seconds to spare, my mom and I hurried on the plane, taking the last two seats in the last row.

I was so, so grateful to that angel man who gave up his seat so I could get home. He didn’t even hesitate. He just did it. This whole time, Boye’s “Lemonade” was playing through my head, and I found myself humming it throughout the day. The lemon part was missing our flight. The sugar was the sweetness of a stranger who gave up his seats for us.

My good friend gave me some great insight into the whole concept of “turning lemons into lemonade” last week: “The lemons are necessary ingredients, just as trials and hardships are necessary ingredients to make us grow stronger and appreciate the good in life.” Of course, it’s up to us to look for the “sugar” to add the sweet to the sour.

“You can be bitter

Or you can be better.”

Alex Boye's music video for “Lemonade” can be found on YouTube.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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