Sports, Food and Politics

by Laura Johnson
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planes.jpgFour days in San Francisco is a "Stewardess" dream trip. My crew of 10 departed Atlanta promptly at 9 am to pick up the Philadelphia Eagles and head to San Francisco for their game this weekend. We parked at a small, remote airfield along with a bunch of tiny private jets scattered around, at least they appear tiny compared to our Boeing 767. We got a lot of looks and everyone wanted to know what we were doing there. When a sports team charters a big plane from a major airline, we gladly park anywhere they want.

The air stairs arrived and a friendly face greeted us only to pass along the grim news that the team would not be arriving until 4 p.m., which was 5 hours later. My first thought was 'oh great; this meant lunch out of a vending machine and some free, bad coffee,' because there are no restaurants inside remote air terminals. A few minutes later a man in a white van arrived and asked if any of us would be interested in going to Ruby Tuesday's. We all jumped up in unison and couldn't get in his van fast enough, without ever bothering to question who this man was. We could not have been more excited if he was taking us to Mario Batalli's restaurant.

rubytuesday01.jpgI won't go as far to encourage anyone to put Ruby Tuesday's at the top of their 'restaurant to try list' but I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. I ordered Chicken Piccata with a lemon caper sauce that came with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. For an extra $2 I got a trip to the salad bar which was rather impressive. Along with several glasses of ice tea, my bill came to $12.50. For that price I would have gotten a sandwich, bag of chips and a bottle of water in a an airport.

The man in the white van gave me his number to call when we finished and said he would pick us up, which he did. When we got back to the plane there was a flurry of activity. There were 2 semi-trucks loading the 22,000 pounds of the team's equipment into the cargo bins. There was also a fleet of police cars and black suv's; even some bomb-sniffing dogs. I have flown with many professional sports teams in the past but I had never seen this kind of security. We walked up the steps and got back on the plane where there were more people and activity.

secret_service.jpgA few minutes later a man in a dark suit, with an earpiece appeared at the door. I said 'hi' and he flipped a badge at me and said "US Secret Service." Without missing a beat and looking at him as seriously as he was looking at me I replied, "Ok, but I didn't do it." He cracked a half smile and turned and pointed to a plane that was pulling up beside us and said "that's Sarah Palin's" plane. I said "what would you like me to do about that sir?" He smiled and said "nothing, you're just fine but curious about what time your plane is leaving because we have to make room for Obama's plane that's landing in 1 hour." I said "I'm so sorry but I'm only in charge of the meals and the beverage service."

We had been out shined as the star attraction at the remote airfield. But our plane was twice the size of Sarah Palin's and I much prefer our driver in the white van over the Greyhound bus she had to ride on and I have serious doubts she enjoyed her lunch as much as I did.

 

Laura grew up in a small southern town in Georgia on a cotton and pecan farm where life centered around family, friends and good food. She has lived in Atlanta for 20 years and has been a Flight Attendant for a major airline for 18 years, traveling the world in search for the next best meal.  

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