By Alyssa Cohen
“I had never been to Florida before and when my parents announced that we would be taking a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, I was absolutely exuberant. I had my bags packed weeks before the trip and the night before our flight I found myself hardly able to sleep.
“When we finally arrived at Logan, I was prepared for frustration. I had never been to an airport before, but I remembered a few of my buddies complaining to me about the trials and tribulations of airport security. However, much to my surprise, all of the lines were short and fast moving and we were through TSA and at our gate within a half hour. I could already tell this was going to be the perfect vacation.
“Much like my airport experience, our flight went swimmingly. Shortly after take-off, I popped in my ear buds, put on Dead Poet’s Society on my laptop, and the next thing I knew the stewardess was announcing, ‘Welcome to Florida.’
“Upon our arrival, we retrieved our luggage from the baggage claim and spoke with the woman at the Enterprise counter about where to find our rental car. Once we were about to locate our car in the parking garage, we learned that it was a red Toyota Camry. As soon as we had loaded all of our luggage into the trunk, my mother tossed me the keys. ‘You’re driving Ty,’ she informed me. ‘It’ll make for good experience.’ Although I had had my license for months, and I felt like I was a good driver, I was still a bit hesitant to drive around an area so unfamiliar. Nevertheless, I started the car and drove out of the garage.
“Once I got onto the freeway I felt comfortable as I realized the Floridian highways were not much different than those in the northeast. However, as I was pulling off our exit, something incredibly peculiar occurred. An armadillo appeared on the off ramp and my instinctive reaction was to swerve to dodge the creature. In turn, the car barrelled off the road, but thankfully, I slammed on my breaks just before it hit the guardrail. For several minutes, my family and I just sat there, listening to the symphony of car horns. My mother was the first to break the silence. ‘We better be getting to our hotel now,’ she shared, refusing to acknowledge the occurrence.
“The rest of our vacation was terrific, we had a wonderful time at Universal Studios and spent many hours by the pool. However, that car incident stuck with me–throughout the rest of our vacation and even still today. I’ve started to appreciate small things, that I used to overlook in day to day life. I live for every day now because hey, you never know when an armadillo may appear out of the the blue.”