We could have used another 10 pages, maybe even 100, to accommodate all of the great stories our Road Warriors sent us in reply to the question, "What was your funniest, strangest, or most memorable business trip?" Many of them made us laugh, some of them made us squirm, and a few of them made us just plain curious, but they all made us realize that the life of a Road Warrior is never a dull one. So go ahead, try and pick a favorite. We dare you.
Betcha It Wasn't A Clip-On
In Houston to run a high-end conference, I discovered I had forgotten to pack any ties. Unfortunately, it was too late to visit the gift shop or any other stores in town. I was frantic, knowing I had to be ready by 6 the next morning to welcome the delegates. In a moment of panic, and before I could stop myself, I turned to one of the two gentlemen riding in the elevator with me and told him that I needed to borrow his tie. I rambled on about the meeting's dress code and store closing hours, etc., and the man, seeing how my professional demeanor had long since surrendered to my now boyish paranoia, took pity on me. He handed me his tie and told me I could return it to him at the front desk when my event was finished. I was shocked that a complete stranger would be so generous, but convinced myself that the pair worked for the hotel and simply wanted to ensure I had a pleasant stay. When I asked the man for his name so I'd know who to return the tie to, he answered, "Prince."
After the event, I asked the front desk for the bellboy called Prince. They had no idea who I was talking about, so I explained the story and said I couldn't leave until I personally handed him back the tie and expressed my immense thanks. Finally, a front-desk clerk realized who I was talking about. "Prince" was in fact a bona fide prince from Africa who frequented the hotel with an executive assistant in tow.
- Luke Eleftheriou,
Studio City, California
Like Father, Like Son
After checking in to my hotel one night, I flicked on the lights, dropped my bags, and headed to the bathroom. After a few seconds, I heard what sounded like snoring, and peeked around the corner to find someone sleeping in the bed. I tried to make a quick exit, but woke up the gentleman, who yelled, "Who is that? Get out of here!" I told him there must be some mistake and proceeded downstairs to the front desk. As the clerk was insisting it was impossible for another person to be in the room, a man in his pajamas approached us. I turned around to look, and it was my father. It turned out that he had made a reservation at the same hotel for the same night. I hadn't seen my dad in more than two years, and we ended up staying up the whole night talking.
- David Liu Jr.,
New York City
He Must Have Been A Beer Drinker
I had a bottle of my homemade cherry wine in my carry-on, but as I went through security, it apparently didn't look right on the X-ray machine. Now, I totally respect the job the airport screeners have to do, but this was the exchange between myself and one of the screeners after he saw the bottle on the machine that day.
"May I search your bag?"
"What's in the bottle?"
"You know that it's against the law to consume alcoholic beverages that aren't served by the airline?"
"Yes, but I'm not going to drink it on the plane. I'm taking it to a friend."
"But you could drink it."
"No, I couldn't."
"Why not? Who's stopping you?"
"I am? How do you figure that?"
"What do I need to open it?"
"What's one of the prohibited items I can no longer take on a plane?"
A second screener overheard the exchange and laughed, "Well, he has you there, Bill!"
- John Polus,
Nacho, Nacho Man
One night, I ordered some nachos from room service and didn't finish them, so I wheeled the cart with my leftovers out into the hallway. Fifteen minutes later, there was a loud crunching noise outside my door. Peeking through the keyhole, I found the hotel security guy munching away on the nachos. I banged on the door, and he ran off down the hall. I settled back in, thinking that was over with. To my surprise, the crunching started up again 15 minutes later.
- Donald Brown,
I showed up at baggage claim one trip to find that my luggage had broken and all of my clothes had fallen out. So the baggage guys taped my underwear to the outside of my bag.
- Sam Glenn,
Caution, Contents May Have Shifted During Takeoff And Landing
On a trip to New Orleans, I sat next to a man accompanied by several of his family members. We got to chatting during the flight and he told me they were all on their way to "take Mom home." I said "Mom?" and he pointed upward with his finger. He had his mother's ashes in an urn in the overhead bin.
- Catherine Anderson,