By Alan Smith
You may have seen the following list of things that people are
reported to have said to a travel agent. The list is bogus, but still
* A woman called, wanting to go to Capetown. I started to explain the
length of the flight and the passport information then she interrupted
me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in
Massachusetts." Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I
calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts. Capetown is in Africa."
Her response? Click.
* A man called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was
wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean
view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in
the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the
map, and Florida is a very thin state!"
* A woman asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag
so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?" I said, "No, why do you
ask?" She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a
tag on my luggage that said "FAT." I'm overweight and I think that's
very rude!" After putting her on hold so I could "look into it" (I was
actually laughing), I came back to her and explained the city code for
Fresno, CA is "FAT," and that the label was only a destination tag.
* A man inquired about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all
the cost info, he asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and
then take the train to Hawaii?"
* A woman called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, FL. Do I have
to get on one of those little computer planes?" I asked her if she meant
"fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane"? She said, "Yeah, whatever!"
* A man had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to
China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he
needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never
had one." I double-checked and, sure enough, his stay required a visa.
When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times.
Every time they've accepted my American Express!"
* A man called to make reservations. "I want to go from Chicago to
Rhino, New York." The agent was at a loss for words. Finally, the agent:
"Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you
have?" she replied. After some searching, the agent came back with, "I'm
sorry, ma'am. I've looked up every airport code in the country and
can't find a Rhino anywhere." The lady retorted, "Oh, don't be silly!
Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" The agent pulled out a map
of New York state and finally asked, "You don't mean 'Buffalo,' do you?"
"That's it! I knew it was a big animal!" (thanks to Dale Jenkins for
While the list is bogus, it is true that there are some people in
this world who are -- shall we say -- geography-challenged (I won't
mention any of my family members' names to keep from embarrassing
them). But it seems to me that it is important when you are taking a
trip that you know where you are going.
The same thing is true spiritually. Jesus spoke with his disciples
in John 14 about his "Father's house". He said that he was going to
"prepare a place" for them, then he said, "You know the way to the place
where I am going.” (John 14:4, NIV). The apostles were all ignorant
about this destination, but Thomas was the only one honest enough to
speak up and say, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can
we know the way?” (John 14:5).
And, when it comes to the topic of heaven, we are all ignorant to a
great degree. We all have our views of what heaven is like. Some
picture it as a palace floating in the clouds. Others picture in
literal terms of a pearly gate and streets of gold. Others picture a
world very much like our own. But I'm sure that most of the concepts of
our destination are as laughable as the examples above. And if we're
ignorant about the destination, how can we ever hope to get there?
Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way..." (John 14:6).
You see, in the end, it's not all that important that I know where a
place is located that I am traveling. As long as I'm boarding an
airplane and its pilot knows where that place is located, I'll arrive
safely. And as long as we remain close to Jesus, we'll arrive at the
Enjoy your travels!
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister
for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org