Trains, Planes and Automobiles PART II

Our Dream Trip Turned Into a Nightmare Blessing

Oh, you won’t believe the comedy of errors that unfolded on my recent trip! It was like a scene straight out of “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles,” my all-time favorite Thanksgiving movie, filled with unexpected blessings and a hefty dose of humility.

Picture Thomas and me, living our dream adventure that was also a “bucket list trip.” We were pampered to our heart’s content, until our 9.5-hour flight home got the dreaded “canceled” label slapped on it.

Suddenly, we found ourselves in a foreign land, surrounded by a language that might as well have been Martian, tasked with rebooking our flight, chasing down a cab, and finding a hotel. But I had my magic credit card, my golden ticket to VIP treatment, or so I thought. My showdown with the KLM representative marked the beginning of our vacation turning into a nightmare.

After a night in a hotel room that was cozier than a sardine can, we were beyond exhausted. Instead of our comfy seats, we were relegated to the “three-row-from-the-back zone.” You know, the VIP section for parents with their chorus of crying babies. And yes, I was now a card-carrying member of that club.

Cry Baby

I couldn’t wait to meet my seatmate, so I could unleash my inner infant and join the symphony of whining. Meanwhile, Thomas was seated one row behind me, not together. Just like any other loving couple in a healthy marriage, we decided to take our anger out on each other.

Then, in comes my seatmate, a young man with eyes that sparkled like a disco ball and a grin that could blind you. I wasted no time launching into my epic tale of discontent and disgruntlement, complete with all the drama and flair of a seasoned diva. I ranted about how strangers had showered me with love and pampering, only to have the airline treat me like I was bound for Titanic Steerage. I was ready for applause…

The young man looked at me, added a dramatic pause for effect, and dropped a bombshell: “Well, how about that. I’ve just returned from a mission trip to Rwanda, where I helped build homes for hungry children and homeless people.”

Pathetic Diva

Cue the Steve Martin moment from the movie, when it all comes crashing down. As my dear mother would say, “In the grand scheme of things, in the light of eternity, or Jane, you are one pathetic diva.”

After feeling worse than pond scum, I engaged in a twenty-minute verbal vomit apology, and the bottom line? I learned a profound lesson in gratitude and made an unexpected financial contribution towards my new friend’s upcoming mission trip.

Turning a Lemon Wedge into a Sweet Tea Moment

But wait, folks, the comedy of humility wasn’t over yet. When we finally landed, Thomas, eager to get home, booked us a shuttle service to our final destination. Little did we know that we’d be spending the next three hours in a cramped, crumb-covered shuttle bus that had clearly never met a vacuum cleaner.

I found myself in fits of laughter, utterly convinced that this was the moment when delirium won. As I chuckled away, I couldn’t help but recall the many occasions when I shared my sweet tea wisdom with others about positive mind sets and perspective. It was clearly my turn to experience a sweet tea lesson of how to turn a bitter wedge into a better attitude.


From farm fields to fame, Jane Jenkins Herlong is a Sirius XM Humorist and international best-selling author. Alongside Jeff Foxworthy, Ray Romano, and Jerry Seinfeld, her comedy is known far and wide.

Not just a funny lady, Jane is also an international best-selling author and member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. She’s churned out five award-winning books, each one more Southern-fried than the last. Her latest gem, “Sweet Tea Secrets from the Deep Fried South,” is on the shelves of Cracker Barrel nationwide.

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