I was on my way to the Tampa International Airport to pick up my stepdaughter, who comes down from Michigan for a weeklong visit every summer. Though traffic was always heavy, I’d made the same trip to the airport just a month before, and it hadn’t been this bad. I soon saw the problem. Bright orange cones, concrete barricades, long detours and temporary lane changes: Massive construction was being done on the four-lane highways around the airport. This is so confusing, I thought.
I rapidly approached the airport exit, trying to keep up with the cars whizzing past me. I realized too late that with all the lane changes, I was now in the wrong lane! I could do nothing but groan as I sped past the exit ramp. Tampa is a big busy city, one I’m only slightly familiar with. I had no idea how to get turned around. Finally I saw a sign to St. Petersburg, an area I was slightly more familiar with. I’ll take that exit.
The off ramp dumped me on to the Howard Frankland Bridge. There weren’t any exits until I crossed to the other side of Tampa Bay, and that led me on a 15-mile route heading in the opposite direction. Nothing I could do but follow it on back to the highway leading to the airport. Thirty-seven miles of useless, white-knuckled driving, not to count the gas I’d wasted.
Almost back to the airport exit, I saw the orange cones, the flashing signs redirecting traffic and had a horrible thought, What if I miss the exit again? I’d never get to the airport on time! “Father in heaven, please show me the correct lane to be in,” I prayed.
All of the sudden, a big bus pulled alongside me. Great, now I can’t even see the exit coming up, I thought. Then I read the lettering written across the bus’s side: “Limousine Shuttle Bus—Tampa International Airport.”
Without another thought, I quickly changed lanes and moved in behind it. I followed it safely to the airport, making it to my stepdaughter’s gate with time to spare.