When my friend, Dr. John Wright, a former professor and Dean of the University Of Florida College Of Journalism called and told me I was being honored by my Alma Mater, I was floored. First I called my parents, then my wife, then everybody I went to school with. It was Christmas Eve and wow, what a great bit of news to get, I was beyond humbled. The date was set, an evening of drinks, awards, dinner, and more drinks. Colleagues, family members and friends were coming in from around the Country to witness this historic Castronovo event. Heck, I’m the first Castronovo to ever graduate from college, so it’s a big deal.
I booked 3 seats for my family on American Miami. My thinking was that I’d do my show Wednesday, and then instead of killing myself driving 6 hrs, we’d hop on the quick flight up. Too bad for me it was the day after Americans “big glitch” in which hundreds of flights were cancelled and delayed. At 8:32 AM the day of the flight, I checked their website: On Time! It read. Good. We arrived at MIA an hour and a half before my noon flight and when I checked the board, the dreaded word appeared: Cancelled! I started scrambling, looking for anyone to talk to, but was told, “Everybody is in the same boat, get in line”.
Gina got in line, I started calling…I got through: Recorded voice: the average wait time is one hour and 42 minutes! Their website said that I couldn’t rebook on line! Gina waited for an hour, got to them and they said, “We tried to warn you sir”. (NOBODY CALLED OR EMAILED ME!) “We’ve rebooked you on a 7:30 flight to Gainesville”! No!!! I have to be there by 5:30, can you get me close? They send me to Orlando. That flight leaves at noon, will get me there at 1. Whew. Until it was cancelled after waiting an hour! Maintenance problems. (Sure). They said, “We’re getting another plane!” It never came. Now it’s 3 hours before my event at UF and it’s too late to drive. I was so pissed and sad. My Dad was going to make my acceptance speech for me. What would you have done?
I freaking chartered a plane! I don’t want to tell you how much that cost! But it was well worth it, and I’ll never forget the experience!