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December 1976

Po Box 1980

Southern hospitality

I was scheduled to fly to Tampa, Fla., leaving New York at 9:00 PM. Because of a local storm, we took off three hours late and arrived in Tampa at 2:30 AM . I went to the hotel phone to confirm my reservation. My frustration hit an all-time high when I was informed that my reservation had been made for the following night. After a few minutes of negotiation, they arranged another room for me in a motel.

It was now 2:45 AM; the terminal was deserted. I walked over to the door and got a sudden chill! Walking across the roadway and directly toward me were two county troopers. Having no little experience at being a lonely Yankee in a Southern town, my first reaction was: "What a bummer! Now I'll get busted for loitering in the airport."

One stopped at the water fountain. The other stopped three feet in front of me and said, "You're from New York, aren't you?" He knew that already, I thought, since the New York plane was the last one in. "And you're a friend of Bill Wilson's," he continued. I almost fainted with relief when I realized that the Fellowship had reached out to me 1,000 miles from home when I was hungry, angry, lonely, and tired.

The trooper was Chuck K., formerly of New York, and he recognized me as a speaker he had heard at an AA meeting two years previously. This is certainly a strong argument in favor of carrying the message and continuing AA activity.

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