The Lost Reservation

Fredericton's Lightouse

I was determined that this year's vacation would be different. I had planned it all carefully the summer before, and I had even gone to the effort to reserve all of our campgrounds a whole year in advance, just to ensure that we would have the best possible sites in the best available campgrounds.

Though I was met with some funny comments when I indicated that the reservation would be for the following summer, some places just took my MasterCard confirmation without question. Just to be on the safe side, however, three weeks before we were to leave, I took the time to call all of the campgrounds that had not confirmed my reservation with MasterCard, and we left home feeling safe and secure that we would never have to face the somber scenario of having no place to park our tent trailer!

As we approached our pre-selected campground near Fredericton we were all smiles, especially my kids: "Look! They have waterslides and a miniature golf course!" exclaimed one. "And look at all those different kinds of basketball hoops!" cried the other.

There were several campers already in line at the check-in window when I went up to register, but I wasn't worried. After all, hadn't I made my reservations a whole year in advance? And this particular campground had taken my MasterCard confirmation! I hadn't even needed to call three weeks in advance to confirm!

When my turn finally arrived, however, and I gave the clerk my name, I had to wait a very long time. It was when she began going over the registry the third time that I began to get worried. Then she disappeared, and when she finally returned with a colleague, both of them looked stern and nervous.

"Uhhhh…" began one of the them.

Whenever someone starts with this word, it's better to run away!

"It seems we have lost your reservation."

"You lost my reservation? But . . . How??? We made this reservation last August! Wait. The guy who took the reservation was named Steve. Ask him!"

"I'm sorry, but Steve doesn't work here anymore," responded one of the clerks. "And I'm afraid the computer must have eaten the reservation! It does happen, and we can't do much about it."

"Now THAT'S a lame excuse," I cried, my exasperation VERY evident in my voice.

"Don't worry. We can put you in the overflow."

"The overflow?" I exclaimed. "What's 'The Overflow'? Is that somewhere in the river?"

The clerks hid their smiles nicely. "The overflow is where we put guests when no other sites are available."

Well, maybe that wouldn't be too bad . . . "Is there electricity and water?" I asked.

The clerks simultaneously shook their heads. "No, there's no water or electricity in overflow."

"Wait a minute!" I no longer even tried to hide my anger. "I reserved a site one year ago, and all you have available for me is 'overflow' with no electricity or water! This is ridiculous! What good does it do to even make reservations with you!"

"It's not my fault sir. The computer…"

"Yeah, yeah, it was hungry and it ate my reservation," I finished. I wasn't being nice, but I didn't care. "This is NOT acceptable business practice!" Then I turned and stomped off before I said anything else I would later regret. My blood was still boiling as I got back in the van. "Can you believe that?" I cried. "They lost our reservation!"

My wife, who is ever the practical one, even when she's upset, suggested consulting our guidebook for another campground in the vicinity, and we quickly located the only other place in Fredericton where we could park our trailer. Since it was 20 minutes from our present location, we decided that it would be a good idea to call ahead, and when we did, it seemed that our luck had turned. The other campground had plenty of sites still available.

The fun started, however, when my wife asked for directions to the camp! It seemed that the lady on the other end of the line assumed that we had not only been in Fredericton before, but that we also knew all of the intersections and all of the gas stations! She didn't know any street names, however, and seemed to be quite aggravated at my wife's inability to make sense out of her directions.

Just as my wife was starting to fume again (although we don't smoke, we still sometimes fume!), a man from the local campground approached our van. He grabbed my hand and held it for the longest time as he said, "Hi, I'm Tom. I'll find a site for you."

My wife quickly thanked the lady at the other campsite and hung up.

"You mean in the overflow area?" I asked sarcastically.

"Yes," she interjected. "We made our reservations a year ago! We don't want to be in overflow without water or electricity!"

"No," Tom assured us. You'll like this one."

"But they said there weren't any spots available!" I exclaimed. "Will we be bumping someone else? We don't want to do that either!"

"Don't worry about that. I have everything in control. I'm sorry we lost your reservation. We'll make up for it."

"You will?"

"Follow me."

We did. We followed him to a beautiful, river front site with an exceptional view. Though it was generally reserved for tenters, it had both water and electricity and our tent trailer was small enough to be appropriate. We later discovered that if we had been placed where our lost reservation would have placed us, we would have been sandwiched between other rigs with no privacy and no view. Instead, we were camped on one of the nicest sites in the campground. The irony of it all is that when I tried to make reservations the year before, I had tried unsuccessfully to get a river view site, and we had been told that this wasn't possible!

I immediately realized that I had approached the whole situating with the wrong attitude. I had tried to solve the dilemma on my own. I had let my emotions take over and I had come close to making a complete fool of myself. I hadn't relied on the One who could have solved my problem without worry. Nevertheless, He still came through for us and solved our dilemma the way He always does, turning our curse into a real blessing.

"Thank you Lord!"

Why is it that we, as humans, always try to solve our problems our own way? We invariably end up being frustrated and exasperated. How much easier it would have been to rely on God first. Instead of fuming, like we were doing, peace and rest would have been our companions. We would have had nothing to worry about, as our Forever Friend would have guided us one step at a time.

"God's Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace." (Luke 1:78-79 The Message)

"Your reservation? Our computer ate it."

What will YOUR reaction be?

Rob Chaffart

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