****The names of some characters have been changed to protect whatever*****
Earlier this week, in the middle of a crazy (typical) Missouri spring day, two marketing employees for Wisper Internet made their way to the state capitol in Jefferson City from points east and west. They had top-level meetings with three state senators and one state representative who represent districts and counties where Wisper is doing great work connecting residents to reliable broadband internet.
The day for Ronnie began before dawn with about a two-hour drive to the capitol. He was able to make it with no real issues except for a little rain and a very tight parking garage. The rain let up just long enough for Ronnie to make it in the building and take the obligatory (mandatory) selfie with the capitol dome in the background for social media.
After meeting with Wisper’s fantastic legislative partners near the rotunda, the first of the day’s tribulations began. Ronnie is not a small guy and his counterpart that day, let’s call her…ummm Maudia, did her best to kill Ronnie making him walk up I’d say about 75 to 80 flights of stairs in a building Ronnie knew for a fact has several working elevators. Short of breath we held our first meeting and were joined by..umm Ray, who did a great job highlighting the great things Wisper is doing across Missouri.
The trek continued twisting and turning through the marble halls dodging lawmakers and school tour groups. Making their way to the office of a very high-ranking senator and Ronnie actually welcomed the 10-15 minutes they had to wait to catch his breath and have a few sips of much-needed hydration. Meeting over, Ronnie, Ray, and Maudia moved on to the next meeting (again with the stairs, ironically passing directly by working elevators) with another state senator. This one was a bit shorter and then we had a “break”.
Now, Randi enters the adventure. This is where it gets really….interesting.
Ronnie’s phone rings as Randi is still driving the streets of Jeff City looking for a parking garage. Ronnie had given Randi some great maps a few months earlier, but, of course, they were lost. Maudia is handed the phone to talk Randi into a garage and then we wait as Randi makes her way to the building. Note: it is now pouring rain with strong winds. Oh, did I mention Randi had only been to the capitol once ever and that was decades ago?
After several minutes on the phone, a rain-soaked Randi appears on the “correct side” (the one without the river) of the capitol and finally enters the building to join the team for the final meeting of the day. After a trip down more stairs to the café to grab a soda, we actually used an elevator (don’t get excited. More stairs are in the future) and Randi, Ray, Maudia, and Ronnie were all together for a quick “how ya doing” and scarfing down a granola bar before our sherpa leader again led them into the stairwells to our final meeting of the day, about two hours ahead of schedule. Credit Ray for that one.
All of the meetings are a great success and now it’s time for Randy and Ronnie to make their way to their respective parking garages and then home. Thanks and pleasantries are exchanged with the stair masters and Rannie and Randi out into the rain. The pair happily make their way past the MoDOT building and governor’s mansion to the garage Ronnie has parked in for years when he travels to Jeff City.
“I don’t know if this is the same garage I parked in,” Randi questioned. “Maybe I’m on the lower level?”
An attendant was asked and there was in fact NOT a lower level to that garage.
“No problem, Randi,” Ronnie interjects. “We will grab my truck and I’ll give you a ride to your garage, so you can stay out of the rain.” Little did Ronnie know, Randi had NO IDEA which garage she had parked (the company car) in.
To keep this brief, what seemed like several miles were driven in circles up and down several blocks in and around the capitol looking for the hidden, forgotten, and maybe nonexistent garage before Randi had another great idea.
“Take me back to the capitol circle drive where I came in and I’ll have to retrace my steps,” Randi said. “I’ll use my phone (required internet reference) and It’ll get me back where the GPS brought me in.”
Unlike other grand adventures (Moby Dick, Indiana Jones, or even Star Wars), I’m sorry to say there is no dramatic or heroic ending….the garage was a block away! A block away. As Ronnie was again circling the block keeping an eye on Randi (and eventually pulling into a one-way lot) a much-anticipated call came that the “company car” had been located and Randi would soon be safely on her way home.
Just as an update, both Randi and Ronnie made it home safely and both reported to work the next day.
Wisper cares about small towns because that’s where we live too. Maybe some of us should stay in the small towns…I know where my truck is parked.