On the Road With a CPI Trainer

March 16, 2015
Two pairs of hands clasped together.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

So reads an inscription at the James Farley US Post Office in New York City. According to Wikipedia, these words represent a Harvard professor’s translation of an ancient Greek work describing Persian couriers circa 500 B.C., and are not actually the official creed of the Postal Service.

However, these ancient, well-known words also apply to CPI’s team of Global Professional Instructors. 

This winter—like every winter—presented many travel challenges for us and the professionals we trained. Consider my February trip to Louisville.

A Milwaukee-area snowstorm prompted my leaving early in the morning to ensure getting to the airport on time. My flight was delayed—twice. I still arrived in Chicago in time to catch my flight, only to learn that my connecting flight was now delayed. Then the announcement came that my flight was canceled. Louisville was experiencing a snowstorm. Twelve to fourteen inches of snow was forecast.

These transcripts from email and text messages with my colleagues tell the rest of the story:

“Made it to O’Hare. Long wait for next flight.”

“My flight to Louisville just canceled. I am rebooked on a 4:15 p.m. from ORD to Louisville, arriving at 6:30 p.m. Keeping my fingers crossed.”

“4:15 ORD to Louisville flight just canceled. Louisville airport is closed. I’m in Chicago—going to check options.”

“Gary, would you prefer to drive from Chicago to Louisville? Mapquest says Chicago to Louisville is a four-hour drive.” 

“The airline can get me on a flight to Indianapolis. Only a two-hour drive from Indy and Indy is north of the storm now. What do you think?”

“Gary, we got you a 4-wheel-drive vehicle in Indianapolis. Let us know when you get the car.”

(4:59 p.m.) “I have the rental car. Toyota 4-Runner. I’m on my way to Louisville!”

“Stopped for a quick sandwich and coffee. Freeway ramps are treacherous!”

(9:19 p.m.) “Just got to the hotel room. Freeway was wet for about 40 miles, then slippery & icy. 40–45 mph. Freeway ramps were hazardous. Every time I thought I could pick up speed, I’d see a car in the median or in the culvert—one up against the trees; another on its side. So, the idea of driving faster quickly passed. Parts of the freeway in the city of Louisville are completely covered in deep snow.”

“The drive was actually very pretty with the snow and the hills and the trees. Almost like driving through a Christmas card scene . . . except for the cars off the road, the emergency vehicles, and the flashing lights.”

The rest of the story:

CPI staff called all of the registered participants on that day. The start of class was delayed until noon in response to concerns about travel from participants. Seven participants canceled, but we added one who wasn’t on the roster. The hotel banquet staff couldn’t get in until late in the day. So, I set up the tables and prepared for class. With a modified schedule, fourteen participants completed their renewal program with me that week.

This tale is not unique. Together, my colleagues and I conducted 18 programs that same week in February. Many of my fellow Global Professional Instructors faced similar travel challenges. In spite of the weather, all of the programs went on as planned. Weather created travel complications all over the country throughout this winter, and only one onsite program couldn’t proceed because airports connecting to Newfoundland were closed. That program has been rescheduled.

Last week, weather delayed my flight west. I drove six hours in a snowstorm through the mountains from Denver to Rawlins, WY to teach an Autism Spectrum Disorders class. 

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