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
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,
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
"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
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
- 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,
A Move That's Definitely Not In The Team Playbook
A colleague and I were boarding a plane home to New York at the end
of a business trip. As we stepped aboard, the flight attendant
greeted us and asked if we "played football or something." This
isn't an unusual occurrence for me, because I'm 6'6" and about 235
pounds. My colleague is tall, too, and outweighs me by 10 pounds. I
was getting ready to answer, when my colleague, Alonzo, said, "Yes,
we play for the Jets." I glared at him, but it was too late to come
Not two minutes after we took our seats,
the attendant approached us and said they would have liked to move
us up to first class, but that all of the seats were full. She then
made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have
two members of the New York Jets with us today who have managed to
get some tight seats. Would anyone sitting in the exit rows be
willing to change with them?" I was mortified. I just knew some
die-hard Jets fan was on the plane and would call us out as
phonies. To my surprise, two women sitting together in the exit row
gave us their seats.
After takeoff, Alonzo and I discussed how crazy it was that people
would actually believe we were football players. We had, after all,
boarded the flight wearing business suits and carrying briefcases,
with coach tickets, in the middle of August. And anyone who knows
football knows that the pros are in training camp in August.
Not long after the seat-belt sign was turned off, I noticed a
little boy walking down the aisle with a pen and paper in his hand.
"Excuse me, sir, can I have your autograph?" he asked. Uh-oh. I
couldn't say no, but wondered if I should sign the name of a player
from the Jets or make up a name. I took the paper and signed my
name and high-school football number. Now it was time to get Alonzo
back. I said to the kid, "Do you want his, too?" The boy nodded.
Before the flight was over, six other people asked for our
To this day, Alonzo and I look back at that and laugh. I've told
him, though, that I'll
never travel with him again. Unless, of course, he can guarantee me
that seat in first class.
- Y. Christopher Michel,
New York City
A Truly Grand Adventure
When I left school, I spent a couple of years as a tour guide. Old
habits die hard, I guess, because I still find myself offering the
occasional travel advice. On one such trip, I was seated next to a
blind couple. They were extremely self-sufficient and delighted in
vacationing throughout the U.S. By sheer coincidence, we discovered
we were staying at the same hotel in the Grand Canyon, and I
described to them the wonders of taking a sunrise, light-aircraft
flight through the canyon. They decided to take the tour, but only
if I flew with them and described the canyon. I agreed, but
wondered how I could do justice to such a sight.
The morning of the trip, the sky was bright and clear. We took off,
swooping down among the gorgeous ancient rocks, and I began my
description. An hour later, we landed, and I asked them nervously,
"How was it?" "Beautiful!" they exclaimed. "How do you know when
you don't know colors or shapes?" I asked curiously. The wife
answered, "We could hear how beautiful it was by the resonance and
tone of your voice." Their attitude and enthusiasm for life taught
me a lesson I still remember to this day.
- Lynne Pritchard, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Two young boys, about eight and 10, were seated next to me, while
their parents were seated several rows back. As we boarded, the
parents had given the boys a big brown bag of food to eat. I didn't
think much of it until the boys began chomping down on
a bunch of
chili dogs! Fries and ketchup and a mess everywhere! Then the
oldest boy says to me, "Mister, are you going to use that white bag
in the seat pocket in front of you? I always get sick on takeoff
and may need more than one bag." Now I'm freaked, thinking about
those three chili dogs he just ate. I asked the flight attendant if
I could move, but it was a full flight. Passengers in the aisle
across from me were even wishing me luck. Then the youngest boy
tells me he sometimes gets sick, too, and the boys raised their
bags into position as we began to taxi away from the gate. As we
lifted off, both boys, with bags to their mouths, gagged a few
times, and then suddenly began to laugh out loud. They said they
don't really get sick on airplanes, that they were just having some
fun with me!
- David Carbary,
Blatant Disregard For The "Do Not Disturb" Sign
On one leg of an eight-week business trip, I purposely arrived at
my hotel a day early so that I could have a peaceful afternoon, an
early dinner, and retire at a decent hour in order to be ready for
a hectic week. After dinner, I told the operator to put a "Do Not
Disturb" on my telephone and got into bed.
No sooner had my head touched the pillow than the phone rang. I
couldn't believe it. I answered the phone and a man on the other
end said, "What are you doing in there?" "Who is this?" I asked. He
replied, "I know what you're doing, and you better get out of
there." I told the caller he obviously had the wrong room and hung
up. My heart was pounding, but I laid back down.
Then the telephone rang again. Before I could even say a word, the
caller said, "I told you, I know what you're doing in there and to
get out. Now I am coming to get you!"
I immediately called the hotel operator and told her to send
security. But before I even hung up, he was pounding on my door,
then putting a key in the lock and opening the door! I was
screaming at the operator, "He's here. He's here! He's going to
kill me!" Luckily, I had the chain bolted so he couldn't get in.
The operator assured me security was on the way, and I soon heard
men's voices in the hall and the door was gently pulled closed. I
said to the operator, "What's happening?" She said to me,
"Everything is all right now. Have a good sleep." And she hung
I immediately called her back and said, "Look, there's no way I'm
going to sleep, and I want to know now who was at my door!" The
operator sighed and admitted that it was the hotel's night manager,
who hadn't expected the suite to be occupied. She explained that a
maid had been sneaking people into unoccupied accommodations, and
the night manager thought that he had caught someone
- Carole Lynn Steiner,
Bayside, New York
The Moral Of The Story?
Drink More Coffee!
On a business trip in Las Vegas, I decided to walk to the
convention center one morning since it was close to my hotel.
Unfortunately, I had had too much coffee and had to stop to use the
restroom in a small church. As I left the restroom, I noticed a
funeral service was in progress. For whatever reason, I decided to
stay for a few minutes and pay my respects. I asked a young woman
about the man who had passed away. She bluntly told me that he was
not a nice man, which was confirmed by the size of the service. As
I left, I signed my name in the book of condolences and headed out
to my meeting. Three months later, I received a call from an
attorney notifying me that I was included in the gentleman's will
for simply signing his book, and I was going to receive $5,000! I
never cashed the check. It's in a frame in my office.
- Shahin Boroomand,
Los Angeles, California
One June, I was fortunate to be able to combine a business trip to
Hawaii with a family tag-along. My daughter,
although very shy, enjoyed the local hula and the amenities of the
quaint Lahaina inn we stayed at, especially the pool. When we
returned to the reality of New York, my husband and I often
reminisced about the trip. We must have had a tone of longing that
small ears could interpret, because one day my daughter said to me,
"Mommy, don't worry anymore about Hawaii. I took care of it." "What
do you mean?" I asked her. She showed me a souvenir pen from the
inn that had their phone number on it. "I made a reservation," she
said proudly. "Now you can be happy." I called the number and asked
if a little girl had just called, doubting in my heart the
ingenuity of my shy little girl. "Oh, yes," was the response. "She
was delightful. She said she loved our pool and was making a
- Jeanne Murphy,
Port Jefferson, New York
If It Ain't Broke, Break It
Selling heavy equipment for civil engineering projects, I have had
to travel to some peculiar places. Once, when my rental car broke
down in the middle of the jungle, I hopped on a local bus. We came
to a low-lying area filled with water and mud that was too deep to
drive across. Suddenly, out of the jungle came some locals with a
long rope. They said they could pull us across if we paid them a
fee. The bus driver took up a collection among the passengers, and
the men attached the rope to the bumper of the bus and proceeded to
pull us across. As we drove away, I saw them refilling the
depression with mud and water. Entrepreneurship at its
- Raymond Burrus, Tulsa, Oklahoma
During a tour of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, I approached a monk,
pointed to my camera, and asked if I could take his picture. He
nodded, indicating he understood what I was asking, and posed
standing very proud and upright. A young boy was selling bottled
water nearby, so I bought two bottles and gave one to the monk. I
paid the child and waited for my change. When it didn't come, I
pointed to my palm, saying, "Don't I get change?" The child looked
at the monk, then at me, and said in perfect English, "Change comes
from within." I still look at those pictures every time I need a
- Mitchell Baylis,
Did I Hear That Right?,
One day, two young men, obviously returning from a tropical
vacation, sat a few rows in front of me. The cabin was unusually
warm, and so the pair proceeded to take off as many clothes as they
could, including their shirts. During the preflight safety
briefing, the flight attendant announced, "Please ensure that your
tray tables are in the full, upright position, all luggage is
stowed, and all shirts are on."
- Erin Walsh, Dallas, Texas
Did I Hear That Right?,
During the preflight check, the flight attendants were
demonstrating the seat belts and such. When the narrator came to
the part about oxygen masks, he said, "If you are seated next to a
five-year-old, or someone acting like a five-year-old, put your
mask on first, then help them."
- James Dorrell Jr.,
Arlington Heights, Illinois
A FIRST-CLASS CUSTOMER
On a flight home, I got to my business class seat fairly early and
settled in. Not too long before the plane was scheduled to depart,
a businessman in a three-piece suit came charging onto the plane,
stopped next to me, and began to yell at me for being in "his"
seat. I showed him my boarding pass with the seat number, but he
just got more irate. As his voice rose, the flight attendant,
finding that we had both been assigned the same seat, said she
would try to get him a new seat as soon as possible. Nothing doing.
"Fine, sir," she said. "Miss, would you mind moving?" I said no,
and as she helped me collect my bags and the gentleman took a seat,
she said, right in front of him, "There's an open seat in first
class, ma'am, where I'm sure you'll be very comfortable."
- Josephine Gilmore, Akron, Ohio
Don't drink and drive!
En route to one of my many L.A. to New York trips, I stopped in
Connecticut for a round of golf with a client. The golf carts
happened to be parked side by side, with the back of the carts
against a wall. This meant that if you wanted to put something on
the front seat, you had to drop it through the "windshield" area.
We had purchased some beers at the clubhouse, and so I tossed the
container (holding 12 beers, ice, and water) onto the front seat.
Unfortunately, the bucket happened to fall onto the accelerator.
You can probably guess what happened next. The cart lurched
forward, caught me dead on my shins, and dragged me to the
blacktop. I quickly turned over on my stomach, protecting my head,
as the cart rolled over me and into a wall. At this point, my pants
were at my ankles, shredded, and I was about knocked out cold.
People raced to my side, and, eyes closed, I reached up, undid my
favorite watch, handed it to someone, and proceeded to pass out. I
have great pictures of the event, if you can stomach them.
Actually, they're not too bad.
- Eric Winter,
Los Angeles, California