Yesterday at work, I enjoy a micro-conversation with a self-proclaimed Italian Costco Member over the pronunciation of the words: La Croix. It was well-intentioned and very lively.
We concluded the origin of the words was French, and regardless of your attempt it’s difficult to pronounce correctly. I reminded me of a time when I lost an American in the French city of Paris …
Paris, “The City of Light”. Despite that light, I still had a lost American in Paris that I needed to find.
It was in 2004, I was in my 2nd year at Costco Travel. In those 2 years I had accomplished so much in such little time, I had the biggest task assigned to me. To travel with and escort as a Costco Travel representation for the Kirkland Signature European Cruise Tour. I wasn’t the tour guide, per se, but more like an assistant to the tour guide assigned by Princess Cruises while holding the best interest for the Costco Members and Costco Travel. And somehow I had lost one of the members on the first real day together …
Lost American in Paris
Before I left the office, I had several meetings to prepare me for the 12-night Cruise Tour. The overall message that I detected was my primary responsibility was all Costco Members were to be protected. Thankfully, I would be meeting up with the Princess Cruise assigned tour guide to speak the various languages, be knowledgable about the countries, and have instant access to the various resources that’ll need to be used while aboard. My presence there would be to ensure that everyone had a good time, guided probably, and not have a lost American in Paris.
As the title suggests, this travel package consisted of a cruise and a land tour. The order of this trip was the tour first, then the cruise. Our first night was in London, England so everyone can meet up, and gather up. Our tour guide was Marie-Agnes, and when we met up, she and I cooperated immediately. I knew she would be my best resource should I have a lost American in Paris on our second day.
We boarded the Chunnel Train early morning so we could travel from London to Paris. The first stop was the cathedral of Notre Dame. You see, priority is given to visiting tour groups. Oddly enough, it was a Sunday, and Notre Dame is a functioning church so we were visiting prior to service of the day.
And this is when I lost an American in Paris.
Once the tour was over, Marie-Agnes, and I advised everyone to board the bus to travel to the Eiffel Tower next. After reviewing the faces of the crowd, and double-checking the manifest, I was missing a husband named Larry. Somehow his wife, and him were separated inside Notre Dame. They were traveling with another couple, too. The tour guide was getting anxious as we had a succinct itinerary and we were running behind.
Great, I thought. The first real day and I’ve already trying to locate a lost American in Paris!
Now I’d have to contact the police for a missing person, check in hospitals, and more. First, I kept the wife with Marie-Agnes to keep her calm. The other couple stayed for moral support. Second, I sent the bus onto to the Eiffel Tower to ensure the group stays on-track.
Then I literally ran back to Notre Dame to search myself. I discovered that all tourists were sent out because service was in session. Awesome, I grumbled. I’m having to search for an unfamiliar face in a French crowd of thousands!
Since I was running already, I might as well take a lap around the cathedral. It was then and there I realized just how ginormous this church is.
I couldn’t find him.
Now, at this point, I’m starting to panic. I reverse my direction, and kept running. I still couldn’t find him. I’ll return to the mini-group at the original bus pick up and where I left the remaining group.
They were all smiling!
I furrowed my eyebrows, they must’ve learned more information since I left. Sure enough, they informed me that the bus driver spotted a lost American in Paris at the Eiffel Tower. It was Larry! The group was gathered around him, and my mini-group were waiting for me to return.
Taxis in Paris have a maximum capacity of 4.
Right about then, the church service concluded therefore the patrons were pouring out of the church and piling into taxis. I flagged one down, and had Marie-Agnes, Larry’s wife, and the other couple race off to be reunited with Larry. I assumed I’d be able to grab the next one. By the time, I secured them into transportation, all the other taxis were taken.
I looked into the distance to see the Eiffel Tower like a beacon. Since I was sweaty and upset from panicking, I thought I could use the time to walk and cool off. It was summer, therefore the sun was out and it was indeed hot. After walking for about 5 minutes, I encountered a taxi driver waking up from a nap in his BMW. I asked him nicely in English, if he even spoke English. And then if I could have a ride to Eiffel. He was agreeable to all of it.
He asked me if I was with a tour group from the United States, and I replied yes. He pressed on, why I wasn’t with the group. I smiled, I was trying to find a lost American in Paris, and he was finally located at the Eiffel. He smiled in returned, and quipped, are you sure you’re not the lost American as he looked into his rear view mirror.
I smiled, and joked, I just might be. All’s well that ends well, right?
Until my next drop, Spaceship Earth, be good like you should, and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!
Mic drop *bOoM*