Although the Citrix analyst bash was interesting, informative and a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends both at Citrix and in the analyst community at large, getting back to my office became quite a challenge. Continental Airlines, in preparation for Hurricane Ike, canceled our flights and did little to nothing to help my wife and I get home. They left it up to us to either find flights on our own with another airline or wait until Monday to fly Continental. This was challenging on a number of fronts.
The first challenge is that my wife is under care for a very serious illness (the "C" word) and had only brought enough pain medication to last for our original schedule. This meant that by the end of the day on Friday she'd be experiencing severe pain. Since she's in a wheelchair part of the time, finding a Doctor and getting to the pharmacy would be next to impossible without a great deal of help.
The second was that Monday was the day that I was to fly out to VMworld in Las Vegas. While I understand the stress that the Hurricane placed on the staff of Contential, throwing customers to the wolves couldn't possibly be considered acceptable customer service. By the way, I realize that this issue can in no way be compared to the problems faced by the people in the path of the storm. Being late for a meeting is nothing compared to watching your home and all of your possessions fly off into the night.
I informed my hosts at Citrix about both problems. They rushed to help with rescheduling flights and allowing us to stay an additional day at the conference hotel. My thanks go out to both Elizabeth Kegg, Public Relations Manager at Citrix, and Cindy Toh, Analyst Relations Manager at Citrix.
This isn't the first time that Citrix staff members have gone to great lengths to help me when outside circumstances entirely outside of their control caused trouble, by the way. The last time was helping analysts get back from a European meeting that ended midday on September 11, 2001. The compay's representatives worked tirelessly to help analysts get back home. It took my family and I nearly 2 weeks to get back home. Citrix is clearly a class act as well as a leading technology company.
The staff and management of the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, were also outstanding in this situation as they had during our entire visit to their beautiful facility. When informed of the problems, they offered to provide a car and driver from Execucar to take us to find a local Doctor who could "perscribe" the medicine my wife was taking so that the local pharmacy could help. As we were getting into their car, Phil Mitchell, Senior Executive Manager of the Phoenician Resort, introduced himself and offered to provide whatever help he could during the situation. It's clear that the Phoenician is the real thing as well.
Debbie, the Exeucar driver, spent all morning taking us to three different urgent care facilities before we found one that was open (I guess the folks in Scottsdale, AZ work with a different definition of "urgent" than in other areas of the country). The Doctor was very understanding and helpful. Then Debbie took us to a local pharmacy. We were able to obtain what we needed to fend off the approaching medical crisis. Debbie and Execucar are clearly class acts as well.
Once again it is clear that crisis situations bring out the best or the worst in people. We got to see both sides the spectrum on this trip.
I'll be posting from the VMware event in Las Vegas this week.