Lasallian Volunteers 2005-2006

Lord, The Work is Yours...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

All in a day's work...

I left school to get Kristen and go on a Dunkin Donuts run at 630 this morning and on my way out I ran into Brother Ralph Heppe -- he was as usual, beautifying the block that the school is on by cleaning all the litter and such. I said G'morning and headed out. !/2 an hour later, Kristen and I pulled up and got out of the car carrying little white Dunkin Donuts bags, some coffee, and some munchkins as we hollered a further G'morning to Brother Ralph.

Well, Brother Ralph looks to us, says good morning, and asks "Drug Run?" Thing of it is, I heard "Drunk Run?" I very seriously responded, "No, that'll be tomorrow." (Because Ross, Kristen, Alberto, and I plan on celebrating Fat Tuesday this evening.) Brother Ralph then says, "Ah good! Ash Wednesday is the perfect day for a drug run!" This time I heard him correctly, Kristen and I looked at each other and started laughing, both of us quite amused. Only Brother Ralph my friends. Only Brother Ralph.

Do you think he thinks the DD bags were full of drugs? Hmmm....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Go go girls!

Yesterday evening, Fritz took Janitzia, Chris, and me to dinner in the Northeast part of Philadelphia, very near where La Salle Academy is. We passed my school on the way to dropping them back in Camden and also passed by the el stop I use to get to work.'s a series of hilarious events:

Janitzia looks out and states, "Oooh...Go Go Girls" (meaning there is a go go girls establishment right across the street from my el stop)
Without thinking, I say, "Oh, that's where I get off" (meaning that's the el stop I use for work...NOT that I use that establishment for enjoyment)

Well, the joke was on me that time. As soon as I said it, I realized that some sentences don't belong together ;)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The SWA Letter

So I finally had time to write a little letter to Southwest Airlines...and I had plenty to say. I'm warning you this is a long post, so here goes:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I write to you with some disquieting news regarding my travel on your airline February 12, 2006.

I was scheduled to fly Flight 1919 from STL to MDW to PHL. I arrived at STL after being advised by your Customer Service at 4:30am that you were still flying to PHL after a stop at MDW. Upon landing at MDW, there were six passengers aboard who were all informed by the Captain that the leg to PHL was cancelled and that we were to speak to the Gate Agent (Gate B4) to discuss alternate arrangements to fly to Philadelphia.

I waited in line for about ten minutes before going to the desk at Gate B10, without a line, to speak about the situation I was in. I was rudely told that “You need to go back to that line [at Gate B4]. I don’t know what they’re doing for you. Go and wait there.” I went back to the line and eventually arranged (with 3 other passengers from my original flight) to fly to BWI on Flight 102. I was assured by the Gate Agent that my bags were transferred to Flight 102 and that I would see them at BWI.

I arrived at BWI at approximately 1pm (EST) and waited for about 30 minutes for my baggage to appear. Neither mine nor the other passengers’ baggage (from Flight 1919) showed up at the Baggage Claim. We spoke to the Baggage Services Dept. and were told to give it another 15 minutes. After waiting 20, I went back to Baggage Services and was told to wait another 30 minutes for the baggage handlers to sort out my baggage.

After 45 minutes and still not seeing my baggage, I went back to Baggage Services and was told that they did not know where my bags were. The Baggage Services Agent told me that “They could be at Midway still. Or they might be here (at BWI). Or maybe they’re back in St. Louis.” She called Midway and told me they did not have my baggage. She also called PHL and it was not there either.

I spoke to another Baggage Services Agent and was given a telephone number for Philadelphia Baggage Services. She asked me if I would like my baggage sent there or to be sent to BWI. She told me that I would have to call the phone number until my baggage was there and then I would have to pick up my baggage “because we do not deliver baggage.” She added that “If you do not pick up your baggage within five days, it will be sent to our Lost Baggage Department at our Corporate Office.” By that point, I was at BWI for 2.5 hours waiting for two bags. Neither of the Agents opened a report for me.

I left for AMTRACK and waited another 1.5 hours to get a $65 train ticket to Philadelphia. After being told that the next seat was not available until 8:21 that evening, I returned to BWI and waited another 3 hours. I checked for my baggage with Baggage Services again and they did not find it yet.

I returned to Philadelphia via AMTRACK and phoned Philadelphia Baggage Services the next day (February 13, 2006). They had not found my baggage yet, but suggested I call BWI to see if they had it. So, I called BWI long-distance at 2pm on 2/13 and they had no new details for me. They did, however, open a report for my lost baggage. The agent’s name was Michelle and the Report # was 1000829226. I remember filing descriptions for the bags as “22 Red” and “25 Navy Blue.” She informed me that PHL would phone me when the bags were found in Philadelphia.

At 8pm that day, I called Philadelphia to check on my baggage and they told me it was there. Nobody phoned me. I called your company to find my baggage. After being told I had to pick it up and they could not deliver it, I drove 45 minutes there and back to finally re-connect with my bags. I recall asking if anything needed to be done to close my report and was told that “No, we’ll take care of it.” I parked in short-term parking for $3.

On Wednesday, February 15, at 1:57pm, I was called by Michelle at 410-981-1200 to see if I had found my baggage yet. I did not answer the call because I was at work. The next day, I was called by another person at your company to see if I had reclaimed my baggage. Someone at 215-937-9648 (they did not leave their name) called me to say that “they had received a call from BWI to see if I had claimed my baggage yet.” I called back and spoke to Kevin at 10:00am on 2/16 to close my report.

Perhaps you can understand my aggravation with your company. Not only did you cancel a flight, lose my baggage, keep me at an airport for nearly 6 hours, and did not offer to deliver my luggage, but you also did a poor job with following up on the situation. I had to chase my luggage down and wasted a lot of my personal time with your business, even calling people long-distance while at work. I have completely lost faith in your company. I understand there was adverse weather activity in the Northeast that weekend, but my situation goes far beyond the weather. My experience with your company that week was terrible.

Your company Mission Statement reads,
“The mission of Southwest Airlines is
dedication to the highest quality of
Customer Service delivered with a sense
of warmth, friendliness, individual pride,
and Company Spirit.” The customer
service I received February 12-16 was
nowhere close to your mission. I was
thrown around by your company and
felt like another number in your system.
I thought SWA was above numbers. I
thought SWA was about that “family
feeling.” I don’t think any family would
send someone running around to reclaim
something that your company lost. Here
I thought that being a Rapid Rewards
member (00000198470683) gave me some
sort of recognition in your company. I
guess I was wrong.

I expect to be compensated for my loss of time, funds, and the amount of emotional strain your company caused me. The value of the items in my baggage was near $1000, so I am happy to have received it back. However, there were at least two long-distance phone calls. There was the driving I had to do. There was the parking I paid for. And there was the flight that lost my baggage. I will let you decide how to compensate me, but I’m not so much requesting compensation as actually expecting it.

I look forward to hearing for you soon.

---End of Letter--

I hope it gets their attention and they act on it quickly. Does anyone need a letter written? I'm told by some in my community that I write them pretty well :)

Paulie ;)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Smooth Talkers...

Hey everyone~

I just thought you guys would love to hear this story. It's about one of our 8th grade boys, Cameron. Cameron is the 8th grade boy that all the girls at the center are going crazy over. They all think he is the cutest thing, yet they are always mad at him because he is constantly saying the wrong thing. Here's just a typical example of what he said to Br. Robb last nite.

Br. Robb- Cameron you can't tell girls they are chunky or have chunky cheaks. It's like calling them fat.
Cameron - No, no. It's okay cus its a compliment.
Br. Robb - How is chunky a compliment?
Cameron - See Br. Robb you're chunky and Br. Anthony's fat.

Oh what a night...

I just wanted to show you how much the Brothers take care of me here in Providence. We went on our Re-CAP for a weekend in Cumberland, Rhode Island. It was supposed to be a nice little weekend away at a lodge. Well...we ended up in a nursing home for retired nuns. After setting off the hospital alarm and getting used to the fact that you had to punch in alarm codes to get out of all doors within 15 seconds, the Brothers got to stay in the priest's quarters. You may wonder where I got to lay my pretty little head...Well, I enjoyed a night in the nursing home across the hall from a Sister with high blood pressure. They introduced me to her at around 10pm that night so she wouldn't be frightened to see me there. Needless to say, it was not a restful night. The nurse who was making my bed tried to convince me to be a nun since it was an "honorable thing" and proceeded to tell me her father was a Trappist before he married who later became angry with God. Someone came in to empty my garbage and mop at around 6 am, just like in a hospital. I heard toilets flushing all night. We made it to the lodge the next day. But here lies the quesiton, why don't they put this in the LV brochures?..."Come be an may have the chance to spend the night at a nursing home facility..."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A little prayer goes a long way

Hey fellow LV's...I received an e-mail from Anwar Martinez (LV 2003-2005) this morning and in it he asked me to let you all know the following:

*****"If you have a chance, would you let the 2005-2006 LV know that I wish them the very best and that there's a former LV that constantly thinks of them and wishes he could have done a third year?"

"Love touches us spontaneouslyand it makes us spontaneous."-B. of Clairvaux*****

Oh and, I apologize my post before this one was so darn long...I just started writing and the next thing that I knew, I had written nine miles of craziness.

Much love,

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Not in this classroom

Here's a little story about a teacher who kept her calm, and a student who didn't want her to...

Deron is one of the bigger kids in my class and when he gets going, he has a temper that could scare away an angry herd of juvenile elephants. Well, apparently, yesterday was -- or wasn't -- his day. As Formation class ended, the Minister allowed Deron and multiple other students to make a bathroom run. As they headed out into the hallway, the other classroom of 7th grade students was emptying into it from the gym. Things started to get loud as I attempted to bring my Reading class (which Deron was supposed to be in) under control. So, I stepped into the hall and gently herded all of my students out of the noise and into class. Deron -- wasn't having it.

"I need to go to the bathroom." he stated, as loud as the noise. I responded by telling him that I will allow him to go to the bathroom once the halls have cleared, but for now I need him in reading.

"MAN!!! This is..."

I responded by reminding him that he wasn't in trouble but that he needed to come into the room and we'll take it from there.

"But I gotta go now!"

"Well Deron, you were messing around with the girls, not in the bathroom, if you had been in the bathroom we wouldn't even be talking about this."

He walks through the doorway, by me, across the room, and proceeds to shove an empty chair back across my room. Now he has the attention of every student in my room, and their all looking at me, waiting for a reaction as he goes and sits on top of his desk. Not as his desk, not in his chair, ON TOP OF HIS DESK.

This is me, reeeeal quiet like: "Deron, please come here." (No response as he sits on his desk.)

"Deron, come here please." (No response as he still, sits on his desk.)

"Deron..." (Still, nothing.)

"Deron, out of respect for you I do not want to have this conversation in front of our class, please step outside of the room." (Deron, tough as a brick wall, continues to sit.) Before I could even fully grasp what was coming out of my mouth I said to my class, "7A please line up."

Ou it was serious now, and I didn't even have a clue. I'm standing there, wondering whoa! what'd I just say? as all of my students very silently, and in the most organized fashion they've ever accomplished, lined up. I turned to the science teacher who happened to be in the room and politely asked her to take them on "a bathroom break...or something." And she did. And then Deron and I were alone in the room.

Now what? Good Lord! I'm not even sure, I do know, I let him stay where he was, and I kept my distance, but I engaged him in a conversation about the bathroom, what it meant to be in trouble, why he was now in trouble, disrespect, class disruption, and who knows what else came between us. Engaged. Amazing. I couldn't believe it. Before long, Deron knew his punishment, got to go to the bathroom, and by the end of the day we were laughing together like I didn't kick 13 kids out of my room instead of him.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Hanging with the TSA

Hey Paul, sorry to hear about the long adventure back to philly. At least you have a fun story for the family now! I have a bit of a story as well. But first I need to give you guys a little background. Ever since the september 11th attacks I had been told (albeit jokingly) that I had to be careful at airports because I looked middle eastern. For a while, when I had a pseudo beard, and long hair I was the butt of all the Brothers Jokes at SMC "look at saul, he's gonna get stopped at the airport" and such.

Here in my Tulsa community Brother Chris has told matt to call me abdul when we get to the airport to see what would happen to me. Anyways, on my way back from St. Louis I was asked by a TSA agent whether or not I was Latino. Before answering I thought very carefully what a positive response would result in. Fortunately I detected a friendly tone in the gentleman and he was also smiling, so that helped. After I responded that I am Latino, he asked if I spoke spanish, yep, i do. This was apparently his (and his friends) lucky day, they needed me to translate a Spanish saying that had been tormenting them for days. Alan and Michael (their names) wanted me to tell them whether or not the "Sana sana colita de rana" saying was longer than the one phrase they were told by a puerto rican lady who was passing through St Louis. So I translated it for them, "Sana Sana colita de rana, cien peditos para tu nana. Si no te curas hoy te curaras mañana." Ask me for a translation later.

After translating the phrase, Alan offered to buy me a cup of "coffee or something". I guess I should have asked to be sped through security since it took nearly a half hour to get through. This would never happen at LAX, and man do they do crowds there. I opted for a picture with Alan and Michael (taken by another TSA agent). When Curt (my director) and the Tulsa group asked what happened I told them that they had questions for me. My story was that they saw the bicycle pump in my suitcase and asked to searche my carry on baggage. Further, they were wondering about my computer, and my SLR camera because you could smuggle dangerous materials inside an SLR (camera with detachable lens). They swallowed it whole and were wondering what the flashes they saw were, so i confessed. So much for mug shots.

Michael, Myself, and Alan

I Made it Home!

Everyone knows the weather int he NorthEast made travel very complicated, but perhpas the joke was on me this time: It took me 20 hours to get home yesterday. Here's how:

4:00am - Woke up to go to the Airport with the 5am crew. All is well

7:55am - I board Southwest Flight 1919 from St. Louis to Chicago to Philadelphia.

8:50am - We land in Chicago and I am informed Philadelphia has shut down and I have to find another way to get there. After talking to a couple of other passengers in my predicament, I decide to fly to Baltimore (the closest Southwest flies to Philly) and catch Amtrack to Philly.

10:20am - We take off to Baltimore and land at about noon without incident. I still have faith I'll see Philly by mid-afternoon. The Philly passengers get to the baggage claim and don't see our baggage, though we were informed in Chicago it was definitely on this flight.

We talk to Southwest Baggage Services and they run us around for 2.5 hours thinking they "almost had them for us." It turns out, finally, that they have NO IDEA where our bags are. Wait a minute- don't they track baggage to make sure it gets to the right plane? So where is it? And I quote Baggage Lady: "They COULD be at Midway still...or they COULD be here in Baltimore ...or I'm not sure where they could be. Why don't you call Philadelphia Baggage Services in the next couple of days to see if your bags are there. And if they are there, you have to pick them up in 5 days or they'll go to our corporate unclaimed baggage department." lose my baggage, keep me here for 2.5 hours and then tell me I have to track down and pick up my baggage? Sure thing dear... thanks for your help! And keep using CRACK to keep sounding crazy!

Anyway, I board a shuttle to the Amtrack station and get there at about 3pm to find 100 people in a space designed for 30. Apparently, everyone was over claustrophobia! I waited an hour and a half to get the next available ticket: an 8:21pm express train to Philly for $100. Did I buy it? OF COURSE! While in line, I tried to get a rental car to no avail. So I returned to Baltimore Arpt to spend another 3 hours in the this point, I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the airports, I had solved 3 Sudoku puzzles, written some post cards, and my phone battery had died (though I recharged it a little bit).

At 7:25pm, I boarded a shuttle BACK to the Amtrack station and this time I met a Southwest Flight attendant who was in a similar predicament. She empathized with me and I continued to talk to her as we arrived at the station. We struck a conversation and before I knew it, my luck started changing. She bought a $96 ticket to New York on a 7:52 train. I returned my ticket for a full $100 refund and joined her train at a cost of $65. Well, so much for luck- our train was 35 minutes late and arrived just in front of the express train. We boarded and sat in the cafe car. Eventually, I learned 500 Rummy and all about the job of an airline attendant. I charged 2 laptop batteries and my phone.

10:00pm - We stop...completely...between Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware, our first stop....FOR A FRICKIN HOUR! because the signals were damaged and we only had one track to go on. Three southbound trains pass us before we start moving again at 11:00pm.

11:30pm - We get to Wilmington...3 hours after we left Baltimore. As we start moving again, the train suddenly SHUTS DOWN...I mean absolutely no lights, no air circulation, no movement. 2 minutes later, we start up again and get moving.

12:00am - We pull into Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. Success! I finally return to the city 17 hours after my intended landing time on Southwest. (Thanks for picking me up Fritz!) I hope Brandy (the SW flight attendant) made it back all the way to Long Island. I hear it was going to take 2.5 hours to get from Philly to NYC and then another 30-40mins to get to her house, so she may not have returned home until 3am.

Good thing schools are cancelled today...I woke up at 11am. I have no laundry to do today because I stil have no idea where my baggage is. Maybe I'll call the number in the next couple of days to see if they left my baggage at an airport they don't even fly to.

You know what the craziest part of this story is? I just checked Mapquest and it would take 14 hours and 9 minutes if I DROVE from East St. Louis to Philly. Maybe I'll rent a car next year! Thanks for checking in with me people...I had at least 5 people constantly keeping contact with me as my journey meant a lot to me, so thanks!

So, anyone else have a zany travel story (more like a documentary in my case)?

UPDATE: 8:09pm: I just called Southwest Baggage Services and they have my bags at Philly Arpt! Just as I hung up, the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme came on the radio I'm listening to...maybe it should be Raiders of the Lost Baggage! So now it's off to see Donna at PHL to get my baggage!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

LAMS 2006 PtII

Chris was famous on this night with the ladies, and San Miguel Back of the Yards sponsored a clothing drive for Maurice from De La Salle Freeport.

LAMS 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006

Some funny sayings...

1st - I have rediculous pictures of us in New York....but I am not at my home computer. I will blog them, eventually, sorry.

Okay, so the other day I was at school and left my phone in the car, so I ran back out to grab it. I am standing outside of my school, closed the door to the car, as someone came driving down the street. He stopped and the passenger rolled down his window and said " 10 dollas a dick." haha I just laughed in his face! Yea Austin neighborhood....

Yesterday, Jolleen and I went to Loyola University, Chicago to work at a Volunteer fair recruiting potential LVs. I was standing in front of our booth, trying to get people to stop and talk to us. I stopped 2 college seniors by saying "Are you looking to do some service." One proceeded to say "I'm looking at you." Jolleen literally laughed in his face (unfortunately I did not hear him say this, so really this should be Jolleen's story - because she witnessed it all - as I contintued to try and talk to them about the LV program).

We are having something called the Cross City Classic tomorrow. It is a basketball tournament between our school and the southside San Miguel. The last game of the day is a staff game.....Jorge, Brendan and Ross are going down!!! I will be sure to let you know how much we beat them by :)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

ski trip