It hit my inbox. Delta boasting that I could be seated in a Virgin lounge (their partner) 10 minutes after drop off at Heathrow airport in London. Something about a private entrance and private security and clear directions to this private drop off. 10 minutes through security as an american in Europe? Was this possible?
I asked my London Black Cab driver if had ever heard of this private entrance. This twenty year livery veteran hadn’t, but he was up for the exploration to find it with me. And we did.
He pressed the intercom outside the private entrance, gave them my name, and presto a gate was lifted into this Neverland. Up a ramp we went, turned a corner, and there it was.
Four Virgin/Delta agents greeted me as we settled at the private driveway. I had my boarding pass in hand in three minutes. I was whisked to the private security corridor. I was, indeed, in the Virgin lounge in ten minutes.
And then things got even better. It was the finals of Wimbledon and I hoped to catch some of the match before takeoff. Tucked into a far corner of the lounge, I spotted a viewing area. Well not just any viewing area. TVs arranged side-by-side and above-and-below filled a wall providing a look of a 100 foot screen. Vacant reclining chairs met my eyes for my deposit and I plopped down into the comfort.
But then there was more.
Of course a lounge attendant promptly greeted me with queries of my drink choice and handed me a menu of food to be enjoyed. All of this was for free.
For a kid who grew up in a small town on Long Island, never dreamed of living in NYC, nor traveling internationally on business, let alone with service like this, this was decadence. I smile extra wide and long thinking of my mother, who has passed, who would have beamed hearing me recount such an experience. She was a great appreciator of luxury.
And then there was yesterday.
I had a presentation in Chicago and two days full of meetings with new and pro traders. My 4:10 LGA flight to ORD left the gate on time and then sat. We sat and sat and sat as severe weather hit the area. All flights were grounded throughout NYC. Two hours in, the complaining began from passengers. “Why not take us back to the gate and let us off,” pleaded one frustrated traveler. Condensation from the onboard AC dropped on my head and glasses repeatedly, like a pesky insect you cannot rid. The seats, even upfront, were not of the comfort of business class to London and this started to nag at this person’s back of three herniated disks. It was clear we were just gonna sit until our passenger’s rights kicked in and the plane returned to the gate. And there was gonna be no way for me to make it to Chicago for my 9AM presentation the next day.
I am gonna keep putting myself in positions to grow, meet traders, share what the market has taught me, and experience new experiences. My last visit to Chicago was bountiful. One of 16 meetings over two days brought breakfast with our now top developing trader. I met someone who was not going to apply to our firm, nor would I have met, if not for this trip. I still remember the 8 hour car ride in a hail storm to meet our most recent Green Shirt trader. I remember that doubting AirTran flight, with seats literally held together with masking tape, to Indianapolis to meet a now trader I coach- who makes me better. I have two books full of experiences like this (and maybe another?).
It’s one day at a time to make the firm better. It’s one trip at a time. One email at a time. One phone call at a time. One chat at a time. One video at a time. One blog post at a time. One internal meeting at a time. One mentoring session at a time. One read review at a time. One meetup at a time. One office chat at at time. One trade at a time.
And in time, we will be better. I will be better. I will have experienced experiences in the course of a trader’s trading journey.
*no relevant positions