The continuation of the courtship between Southwest Customers Jessie and Steve.
It’s now August 2010, and I was working at a piano bar when I saw Steve again. I recognized him immediately, especially since he has this distinguished salt and pepper hair (and I had seen his pictures on Facebook). That evening he was with a woman, so I carefully observed them for a few minutes. It seemed like they were just pals, so I decided it was safe to approach their table. I walked up, tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Hi! Do you remember me from the San Jose Airport?” He looked at me, smiled, and immediately said, “Yeah. Nice fake Facebook!” I apologized and explained my reasons, we laughed and he was very forgiving. He then gave me his number and basically told me the ball was in my court. I sent him a friend request from my real Facebook account and we took it from there.
Steve and Jessie meet up at a benefit she organized on behalf of her cousin.
Shortly thereafter, I was planning a breast cancer benefit for my cousin and invited him. He seemed eager to purchase tickets and asked for my address to mail the money. I thought to myself, “I didn’t even want to give this guy my real Facebook account, and now I’m supposed to give him my address to buy tickets?” So I did what any smart gal would do, I gave him my dad’s address! Then he took it a step further and inquired about donating some cell phones for my silent auction. (Points for Steve!) I gladly accepted his kind donation and about a week later the package of cell phones arrived ... again at my dad's address.
The night of the benefit he showed up with his "wingman," and we chatted some before I took to the stage to start the show. At the time I sang in a classic rock and blues band, and I didn't tell him that I was part of the entertainment, so I think he was surprised when I started singing. Needless to say, I was sure he was impressed.
After that night, my family affectionately started calling him “Airplane Guy.” As the night progressed, we had a few more moments to talk and I let him know I was leaving for Spain for the holidays, and would be gone for nearly two months. This was my way of letting him know that we had about a month to get acquainted before I left.
Over two months had passed, and I was back in Southern California for work. I was there with my colleague Melissa from Northern California. After our appointment that day, we took a cab back to the hotel to change before heading to dinner, but Melissa was not feeling well. I remember telling her we could call it a night, and I would just grab room service for dinner, but Melissa said, “No way! We are going out.” We grabbed dinner and then headed over to the Hard Rock Café. It turned out the Hard Rock Café was closed, and as we walked back through City Walk, we could hear the music upstairs from a piano bar. We took the escalator upstairs and went inside. Once inside, I leaned over to Melissa and pointed toward the stage. I told her the woman on stage looks familiar, but I can’t put my finger on where I have seen her. Melissa looked at me rolled her eyes and shook her head and said, “Steve you probably say that a lot.” Maybe she was right, I thought to myself.
Ten minutes had passed when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see the woman from the stage in front of me with a "Ta Da" theater pose, with her hands up and open. She said, “Do you remember me?” in which I replied hesitantly, “Um no, but you do look familiar.” She replied with, “San Jose Airport ...” It was then that I full recognized her and was so flabbergasted that I just about fell over.
Steve and Jessie outside of the piano bar they ran into each other two months after meeting a Southwest flight. Small world!
I quickly regained my composure (and my manners) and introduced my colleague Melissa. I could tell I solved the first question in her mind which was, “Who is he with?” I then proceeded to give Jessie a hard time about leaving me out in limbo land and her Facebook screening. Before I went on a full-blown tirade, I apologized and told her I would very much like to get to know her, but the ball would be in her court to contact me with a real name and number. I took her pen and a napkin and told her I would love it if she contacted me and wrote down my name, phone number, and e-mail.
That night I went back to my hotel and could not stop shaking my head while doing a happy dance. I mean, what are the chances of a random second meeting in a city with over five million people? Was this some divine occurrence unfolding? Two days later I got the real Jessie Facebook invitation. We exchanged a few e-mails in September as I tried to negotiate a last minute lunch date without success. In October, I received a Facebook invitation to a Breast Cancer Benefit event Jessie was holding for her cousin. I called my good buddy John, aka “The Funkman” and asked him if he would be my wingman at the benefit and gave him the background story on Jessie.
I e-mailed Jessie to find out how to secure tickets for the event, as she stated in her invite to send cash or a check. I asked her to give me a call to discuss. I will never forget our first call. I was at the Santa Cruz Skate Park in Santa Cruz, Calf. The sun was shining, warming my soul, and the sky was baby blue. We spoke about tickets and then she mentioned a silent auction. I told her I wanted to send items to donate for the auction. She provided me her address, which later turned out to be her father’s address. I thought, "Smart lady!"
John and I arrived at the benefit and were greeted by Jessie and her cousin. After a few introductions, it dawned on me that all her family was attending. John was hanging out at the bar talking to Jessie’s uncle, while Jessie and I were basically speed dating. After a few questions, Jessie mentioned she was going to Spain in about five weeks for forty-five days. Before I could really absorb this, she then asked me to hold her drink. She then proceeded to head to the microphone, where I thought she would be making an announcement. I was surprised to find out she was a singer as she started to belt out songs from Credence Clearwater Revival, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Led Zepplin. I remember leaning over to her mother and telling her I was amazed by her talent.
It was an amazing night and it ended with a warm embrace. I remember walking back to the hotel thinking to myself, "I have to make an impression over the next five weeks before she goes to Spain." The next morning I had to fly back to San Jose on the 7:00 a.m. flight. Around 9:30 a.m., I received a text message asking if I wanted to grab breakfast. I replied that I had already left to go back to San Jose. She replied with, “And you didn’t offer to take me with you?” I quickly responded with, “rain check?”
Tune into Nuts About Southwest tomorrow to learn what happens next!