If you spend half your life in an airplane and the other half in a hotel room, you can appreciate the sad saga of Jerome Robbins (not the choreographer, but a businessman from New Jersey).
Robbins just won an essay contest hosted by Embassy Suites for the best business travel blunder.
Five hundred people submitted entries of no more than 300 words for the chance to win a trip to Hawaii. It wasn't easy picking a winner.
Before we get to Robbins' winning entry, here are snippets from other contestants.
"My husband had constantly complained about his boss from hell. He would talk about how Dick made him stay late and how Dick botched up a meeting they had with a client and how he didn't know why they put Dick in charge in the first place he obviously had no clue with what he was doing. Well, the company made Dick President and threw a party to celebrate. This would be the first time meeting him and I was nervous and curious. My husband introduced me "This is my wife, June. June this is..." At this point I interrupted him - held out my hand and said "Oh, no introduction needed. This must be the Dick you talk about at home!" The problem? His name was Tom! Not Dick! Dick happened to be my husband's pet name for his boss! Needless to say, my husband no longer works there."
"My necklace got caught on the company president's belt buckle when I bent over to pick up a dropped pen on stage at a national meeting."
From runner up Julie Skowronski of Harrisburg, PA:
"Sitting beside my boss on a flight to Atlanta, I get up, while he is sleeping, go to the restroom and stop and ask the flight attendant for a tomato juice. She hands me a can, I go back to my seat, pop the top, and it sprays all over my boss's khaki suit pants!! He remained asleep until we prepared to land and when he woke up, he freaked out! To this day, I still deny it!!!!!!!!!!!"
From runner up Shirleyn Gramby of Reynoldsburg, Ohio:
"I was at a meeting and speaking in a round table discussion. I was really trying to make my point, when my dentures came loose and fell out of my mouth. I covered this incident quickly by faking a bloody nose and excused myself from the discussion. The host of the table came to see if everything was alright and stated, 'It's happened to me too, but I was a keynote speaker.' She showed me her dentures and we laughed."
Having your dentures fall out in front of everyone may be a hard story to top. However, a panel of "Embassy Suites judges" (who? housekeeping? I think housekeeping should always have a say) picked Jerome Robbins as the winner based on humor, uniqueness, and how it fit into the business travel theme.
Here is his story, "Pantless from New Jersey":
"I live in New Jersey. Before I retired, my job required me to take several trips annually to our customer at a naval base in Virginia. The trips were formal in nature, always necessitating a suit and tie. Since the trip there was almost four hours, in the hot summer months I would leave very early, drive comfortably in shorts and a tee shirt, and bring my suit on a hanger.
When arriving at my hotel, I would shower, change to my suit, have breakfast and then leave for my meeting. Following my usual procedure on an August trip, I reached for my suit and discovered my pants had fallen off the hanger and were back in New Jersey. This was a calamitous situation for me, as I was required to make a presentation at the meeting.
Department stores were not open at this hour to secure a pair of long pants, so I decided to try save the moment by going to the meeting in my shorts, bringing with me the remnants of my suit. I planned to go to the meeting room before anyone else arrived, put on my tie and suit jacket, scrunch up to the wooden table, stay seated throughout the entire meeting (hopefully a short one!) and leave the room after everyone else had left.
As the participants arrived, no one had discovered my bare legs. As the meeting was about to begin, a secretary entered the room and happened to look directly under the table. Not seeing my shorts, she screamed, 'He's not wearing any pants!' Everyone looked and a legend was born."
Marlton, New Jersey
Ok, why did the secretary look under the table, hmmmm?
In any case, what is your business travel blunder? Tell us in the comment section below.
Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org