One man’s deployment is another’s day at the race
She'd bought only three tickets, because her husband's deployment had effectively blocked his participation in their annual family outing to the track.
Their paths crossed, and their ticket purchases wound up merging. It's a story of social media, local connections and the weird coincidences that can mark military life.
***I suspected by mid-August that we were in trouble. Dad's leave from Afghanistan kept getting pushed back to the point where it looked like he'd land stateside in early October. The Pepsi Max 400 would be Oct. 10 in Fontana. I'd bought tickets months earlier - but only three because we thought Dad wouldn't be home for the race. I'd have to try to get another one, but I wondered if anything would be available near our seats.
Every week I planned to go to the ticket office to buy a fourth seat, but every week I put it off.
Meanwhile, a friend's husband also had bought tickets - one for him, and one for his brother. In late August, he got the word: Deployment. Duty called. Male bonding would have to wait.
Once the dust settled from his quick and unexpected departure, she started trying to sell his tickets, with an announcement on Facebook:
"NASCAR FANS: I have two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 400 for Fontana on Oct. 10th. So I'm selling them. Tickets are for Sect71 Row36 Seats 1-2," she wrote
I pulled our tickets out and checked the seat numbers. I checked again. And again and again.
"OMG, you are the answer to my prayers because I needed to buy THOSE EXACT SEATS," I wrote. "No kidding!"
She thought I was kidding. Me a smart aleck? How did I get that reputation?
"Are you serious Debra?! They are yours if you want them!!" she responded.
"I am TOTALLY serious. I had bought enough for the guys and me but it now looks like the race will fall during R&R so I need more. We already had Sec 71, Row 36, Seats 3 through 5!"
It wasn't until I listed our seat numbers that she realized I was indeed serious. The tickets were in my hand and the check was in hers the next day.
"For once procrastination paid off for me, because I couldn't have found the tickets I needed at the travel office anyway. You already had them," I said as we made the exchange.'
I also had an extra ticket now, but it cost me less to buy one and an extra than it would have to have bought four new tickets in hopes that I'd be able to sell the original three.
***Race day came, and Boots was thrilled to see his driver starting fourth. My driver and Big Guy's ran near the front for a chunk of the day. Dad's driver won.
We took a ton of pictures, and the guys made posters to share with their classmates. Dad took prints back to share in Afghanistan - many of the folks he works with are NASCAR fans and envied his chance to see a race.
Oh, and that fourth ticket? I gave it to someone I ran into on race day who'd kind of wanted to go but couldn't afford it. Pay it forward, Army style.
The next Fontana race is in March, and I'm hoping my friend's husband and his brother finally get to have their weekend. I'm hoping Dad's home for that one as well.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.