It was Halloween day and I was wearing a princess costume. Think Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast but in a blue-purple shimmer hue.

I dressed that way for work for the costume contest (which I got second place in, but Medusa had actual (fake) snakes in her hair. Hats off to her.). However, I was also flying to Denver that evening. I do bold and funny things, though, so I thought, “Why not travel in this dress?”

Now, I am often late to things. But I know that airlines (and swiss trains) don’t wait, so I left work an hour and a half early just to be safe. Between leaving work and actually getting myself into the airport, there were constant delays — traffic, roadwork, an accident, shuttle buses not coming — so by the time I was checking my bag, I was still late. Really late. Late enough that they said, “Your bag may not arrive on your plane. If it doesn’t, it’ll come in on the next plane, which will arrive tomorrow morning.”

I didn’t have another option so I said, “fine,” and I rushed off to security.  I literally sprinted through the airport, one hand holding up the hem of my dress, and the other holding my tiara on my head.

Quickly, people got caught up in the moment.

“It’s Cinderella!” one lady exclaimed.

Her young daughter got very excited: “Hurry Cinderella!” she chimed in.

Soon everyone that I passed began cheering  (yes, like onlookers cheering on folks at the end of a marathon) and calling out things like, “Oh no! She’s late!”

“Don’t miss the ball!”

“Cinderella, hurry, your carriage will turn into a pumpkin!”

They cleared the way for me through security, through the walk ways, and I walked onto the already boarded plane and everyone looked up at the hurried princess. And then they applauded.

And then I took my place in the last middle seat available, because while chivalry may not be completely dead, even Cinderella had to run home like a hot mess when she was late, and the middle seat  of a 747 is a bit of an upgrade.

End Note: It wasn’t until I sat down that I realized, if my bag didn’t arrive, I would be in cold Denver stuck in a princess dress overnight. I don’t think I would’ve been such a popular disheveled-princess sight on November 1. Talk about a walk of shame. It’s amazing the difference a day makes. Luckily, my luggage did arrive, and it went down as my most favorite airport experience to date.

Photo taken in Denver, not while rushing through SMF airport

Photo taken in Denver, not while rushing through SMF airport

Joanna O’Hanlon is an adventurer and storyteller. She tries to be honest about the ugly and hard parts of life, and the beautiful parts too. This blog is one of the places she shares her thoughts and stories.

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