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The Little Train Who Couldn't

Travel should be one of the easy things to today - right? Speed! Efficiency! Ten flights a day! Don't think - just go! You will get there, right? Right - well at least until you reach (drumbeats, please) the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. This March we decided to take advantage of the Spring Break, as many families do, to take the kids to see their grandparents.

My parents live in Boca Raton, Florida, so the concept was to fly down, lie on the beach, catch some 'rays', read some form of totally non-redeeming literature and in short, 'de-stress' ourselves. It would be a full day of travel flying 'pygmy class' (so named due to the leg room available), but that would be a short annoyance while visions of beach balls and hot tranquility danced in our heads. We could not get a direct flight from Vancouver, so we did not have to change planes in an airport, now bound for infamy, called Dallas-Fort Worth.

I guess the fact that they couldn't decide which city to use to name the airport should have been our first clue. The second clue should have been the fact that the airline felt it necessary to have a map of the airport available for its passengers. My mistake was not taking the map with me, because once off the plane we found the entire terminal (actually terminals) to be devoid of any maps! The map in the airplane suggested we use the underground, automatic transit system called "Trammway" and not knowing any better, that is exactly what we did. So with bags in hand, we then tried to find the Trammway.

After walking quite a distance we discovered that you had to leave the terminal to get to this inner-airport transit system! We finally got on with forty-five minutes to spare, looking forward to an uneventful short trip on the automated little train. Unfortunately it didn't quite happen that way. The doors closed, a machinelike voice warned us to hold on as the train was about to speed off "promptly".

We held on, and the train began to crawl along its concrete track - for almost fifteen feet before it came to a full stop. Then it started to crawl along again - at least as fast as a person could walk. Then it stopped again. We finally arrived at the next terminal. More people got on. The train warned us we were going to be leaving "promptly". The doors closed. Or at least tried to. Five times the train warned us it was leaving "promptly", five times the doors failed to close. On the sixth time it worked and we crawled off again.

I was starting to mumble under my breath by this time. My family had retreated to the other side of the train, no doubt fearing that the head of their family might attempt to inflict severe mechanical harm to the robotic horror on which we were confined. Other passengers were becoming agitated as well. At the last stop before our terminal, I swear that I heard someone utter, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" to the people who were boarding the train.

The train continued fitfully on. I volunteered to get out and push, but the other passengers restrained me, saying the doors and windows were locked. I hate people who give up easily. So I spent the remainder of the time on that little-train-who-could-not, thinking of the cosmic silliness of being able to travel in one vehicle at speeds close to the speed of sound in order to arrive at an airport where you get on a vehicle that travels close to the speed of mud!

We missed our plane. We had to wait for another six hours to get the next flight. Choo-choo to you Dallas-Fort Worth. I can imagine that for most people, purchasing disability insurance is much like being on the Trammway. It is hard to get to, slow going and seems to take forever to complete. If there had been a map in the airport, I probably would have found an alternate bus system to get to my terminal. Similarly, if one had a map showing the alternatives when setting up accident and sickness coverage, one might devise a better strategy to achieve this without feeling 'stuck' or frustrated. This is how the seminars that RPA’s take with can help you, the client.

So ask your RPA if he has been to one of Consultdoug’s disability strategy seminars – it does make a difference.

Stay safe. Doug McChesney BA, RHU

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