We had a quick, but busy and blessed trip to Escanaba, Michigan, to be their keynote speakers for the Upper Michigan Safety Conference.
Flew in on Friday, and flew out on Saturday! Got up at 1:00am, got Russ up at 2:00, and we arrived plenty early at Seatac, for our flight. Russ dropped me off at the curbside check-in, and even found parking right away! However, if it hadn’t been for Clear, we would have missed our flight, due to the long security lines! Surprisingly, none of our carry-ons were pulled aside for further inspection, but they always take so long to inspect Russ and his wheelchair, it wouldn’t have mattered. We had a couple of great TSA agents (one was in training), who got a kick out of it when Russ used his line, “Can you check the oil, while you’re down there?” When we got to the gate, Russ had fun making silly faces at some little kids, while we waited for the aisle chair. It didn’t show up until it was past time for boarding, so Russ agreed to go on after everyone else boarded. (We didn’t feel like it was a big inconvenience, but Delta ended up sending me an apology email, and even gave us some miles!) We had a great flight (We had the screens on the back of the seats, and Russ dominated in his poker game!) Despite taking the train the wrong wayWe made it to the gate in time for our connection in Minneapolis.
On our Escanaba flight, we had the most wonderful flight attendant (Jana), and had to stop one more time, but didn’t have to get off. Upon our arrival at Escanaba, we had a fun wheelchair helper, who was a good sport when she went to pick up Russ’ legs to transfer him, and he hollered “Ow!”
We were picked up by our friend, Renee, who we had met when she hired us six years earlier, for the same conference. We went to dinner (cool name: Herefords & Hops) to meet some of the sponsors and the committee. After dinner, our new driver (Renee had to go take care of some last- minute things at the venue) took us to our hotel. We got Russ in bed, and we got a short, but pretty good sleep.
On Friday morning, Russ was again, making silly faces at a little kid, in the hotel lobby, when the little girl asked her mom if she could have a little sister! If you know our story, then you know that’s what Spence used to ask us…
Then our driver picked us up, and he even stopped at an espresso stand, so Russ could get his three shots! The driver also joined us for our prayer, backstage, before the presentation.
The presentation went very well, and when we passed out yellow bracelets at the end, we had just enough for everyone in line! One of the audience members came up afterward, and said she remembered us from the Great Lakes Conference, in Midland, Michigan many years ago! Then we got to see another individual who we met six years ago, who also happens to be a paraplegic. He and Russ exchanged “crippled guy jokes”, then Russ “shopped” at the vendor fair. We were waiting for lunchtime, when a guy with a TV camera came in, and asked if we could find the keynote speaker for him. He then saw the poster of us, that we happened to be sitting next to, and we all had a good laugh! We did the interview for TV6, then had lunch, said our goodbyes, and headed to the airport for our flight to North Carolina. Little did we know that we would never make it – which is a whole ‘nother story…
Russ and I enjoyed presenting to the Upper Michigan Safety Conference and meeting up with people that we have met in the past. If you’d like to learn more about our presentations, please follow the link to our contact form here: https://youngstromsafety.com/contact/ Thanks for reading!!!