Becky left for Las Vegas last Tuesday. I accompanied her to the airport in El Paso to see her off on the plane. It was a typical Becky Adventure! We went up to the check-in counter with the luggage and told the ladies all the info about her wheelchair, destination, etc. They were very surprised to hear that Becky was traveling alone. After a few questions about her ability to do so, they asked her where she was going and she answered (shrieking) "Las Vegas!!!!!" They loved it. For several minutes, they encouraged each person who came to the desk to ask Becky where she was going. "Las Vegas!!!!!!!" The ladies had switched from being skeptical about Becky's ability to travel alone to being sorry they weren't going to see her arrive.
Next, we ventured up to security. If you have traveled, you know that the TSA people are typically very serious and look fairly miserable....especially the ones sitting at the podiums looking at i.d.'s. This TSA man was no different. When it was Becky's turn to show her i.d., he took it without looking up, asked her how she was. Becky gave him a huge grin and said "I'm fine....how are you? What's you name?" He stopped, looked down and broke out into his own huge grin. He answered that he was fine and doing much better now. He asked the magic question, "Where are you going?" "Las Vegas!!!!!!!" She went through the security area without a hitch other than the security people needing to take a little extra time to check her wheelchair.
* Wheelchair travel tip * Make sure to wash your wheelchair thoroughly before traveling. Medications can leave residual dust or oil on the wheelchair and show up as illegal drugs.
The people at Southwest Airlines were terrific. They had their own concerns about her ability to travel on her own, but with a little reassurance, most were supportive of her trip. The assistant who helped me get Becky onto the airplane picked her up beneath her arms and I took her legs. We carefully moved her into the plane where the front aisle seat was waiting for her. There was a 30ish looking man in the middle seat sitting beside his young son. The man was visibly upset at Becky sitting beside him. He wanted to move to another seat. After he offered to move a couple of times, Becky looked at him and smiled. "What's your name?" "John". She smiled again and told him "I going to Las Vegas!" His shoulders relaxed and lowered, his face softened and he took a deep slow breath. John smiled at Becky. I gave her a big kiss and told her to have a great trip.
The steward was an experienced veteran of many years of flying. She called after me, "Wait! She can't do this. I don't think it's legal. Isn't this illegal?" I answered "Nope. She's flown by herself before. This is her 3rd trip." "Well, things change and I don't think this is legal now. I can't guarantee her safety! If there's a problem with the airplane, I can't get her out!" I tried to reassure her that we understood that and we're okay with it. "I fully expect you to get everyone else out if there's a problem with the airplane. If you have time, go back and get her. But I have faith there will be no problems...Have a great trip!" She had an assistant calling on the phone to someone with authority. He found out it was indeed legal. The stewardess was still not happy. Becky called to her and said "Have a great trip!".
Becky arrived in Las Vegas and met up with the group of people she was going to be touring with. The next 3 days they went gambling, shopping, and sightseeing. She went to the Fremont Street Experience and loved all the lights, especially the light show of the ocean/fish/whales. She also went to the Bellagio and loved watching the water fountains dancing in time with the music. They went to a traditional Las Vegas show complete with tributes to the entertainers who made Las Vegas famous and showgirls. On the third day, they went to a comedy magic show and were given private magic lessons. Becky said she learned a card trick, but has yet been able to show it to me.
But one of the highlights of the trip was seeing two different men dressed up as Elvis Presley! "Two of them, Mom! Walking outside!"
When I asked her what was the best thing about going to Las Vegas, she said, "The fountains." When I asked her what was the worst part? "Leaving! I wanted to stay there!"