Yes I’m the Girlfriend! Barbara’s Side of the Dave Reinitz Jet Blue 292 Story

Hey Followers,  I found this article I had written in 2005 just after Dave has his near death experience on a Jet Blue Flight.  Thought you might find it interesting.

9/22/05

Yes I’m the girlfriend!

An Essay by Barbara Holliday

My name is Barbara Holliday, but you might know me from a more recent reference, as the girlfriend of that guy on the Jet Blue Plane.  My boyfriend of 10 years was recently passenger on Jet Blue flight 292 that was forced to make an emergency landing 3 hours after it left Burbank, CA for New York.  Not only was he on the plane, but he actually shot footage inside the cabin with our video camera.   Not just any footage, but also a goodbye message to me.   Amazing how one little twist of fate can change things in an instant.   By the way he lived! And what a couple of weeks it has been.  So here’s my side of the story starting from a few days before the media frenzy began.  .

 

Sunday:   My life seemed perfectly normal and busy as usual.  I own two businesses, Digital Design LA Inc a company that provides computer training to entertainment clients, and H2F Comedy Productions, a comedy management and production company.  We produce live comedy shows at the Ice House on a weekly basis and manage Comedians.  So things were going along at the usual hectic pace.  Work by Day, Comedy by Night.  And our dog Bozley was needing his daily dose of attention of which I am always happy to provide.   But there was one this one thing hanging over our heads.    My boyfriend of 10 years, live-in for 5, Dave Reinitz, was selling a restaurant recruiting business he had owned for the past eight years.   Now this may sound like just an ordinary occurrence but no, this was a big ordeal.  Dave, a Stand up Comedian by night,   had been trying to sell this business for the past eight months so he could focus more attention on his comedy.  He was trying to sell the business to a friend, whose name I won’t release so as to protect the un-innocent.  This “friend”, actually also worked for the business.  I believe this is why it took so long.  By the way I might chime in with a few life lessons, from time to time.  These are lessons we all know but ones that I have relearned in the last week.    Relearned Lesson #1:  Never sell a business to your friend!  Well anyway, after eight months of attorneys and negotiations, fights and stress, Dave finally sold his business, I mean finally, as in Check in hand.  Well at least on Monday he was about to get that check.

 

So in preparation as any couple in their mid thirties who had just began to finally acquire some material goods would do, we discussed preparing a will.   And of course, as organized and prepared as I am, I had to rush right out to Costco to by the latest and greatest in Will preparation software.  It was called WILL Maker or something like that. I installed it instantly on Dave’s computer and the first thing I did was prepare my own will.  Of course I encouraged Dave to prepare his will as soon as he could, not because I knew he would be mentioning me in this will, but for protection of course, since we knew in the next few days he would be acquiring a large sum of money.  So as expected, He didn’t use it.  After all it was software, not his favorite pastime.  You see Dave is also a comedian, a creative type so I can understand his lack of interest in the technical.  I had no other thoughts about the will, other than he’ll do it when he has time.  Life Lesson #2 –The time is now.

 

Monday:  Today’s the day!  All our thoughts and activities are centered on Dave selling this business.  He gets up early, therefore I do too.  It’s very exciting he should be getting that big check today.  A first for us.  This check would be bigger than any one check either of us has ever received in our lifetimes.  This was big deal.  Dave heads off about 7am for the South Bay, in MY Honda Hybrid.  He never takes his used 91 Celica for long trips because it’s not extremely reliable and not super comfortable for long trips.  Dave’s business was in Redondo Beach and we lived in Burbank, about a one hour drive my normal standards, but in LA, could be up to 2 hours based on traffic.  Not a fun drive.  Thank goodness we just acquired the new clean air vehicle decal stickers for 8.00 from the CA DMV.  They allow single drivers to drive in the carpool lane, a worthy investment I think.  Should I put those in my will?  I’m settled in at work, busy at my desk, with my TV blaring in the background as usual.  The time is coming upon 3pm, and I haven’t heard from Dave yet, I call him and he says,   “Not yet.”  I’m like what do you mean not yet?  And he says, “Well we went to the lawyers, signed all the papers but there is no check yet?”  NO check yet, how can you buy a business without money!  So we wait another day.  But it turned out to be a pretty good day after all since we had a very nice dinner planned with the owner of the Comedy club we work for, Bob had been asking us to dinner for a few weeks; in fact it got delayed the week before because we got sick, but tonight was finally the night.  We met Bob at the Ice House and he treated us to one of the finest dinners we’ve ever had, complete with a $100 bottle of wine.  Another first for us!  And nicer yet because Bob paid!  Still no will.

 

Tuesday: Business as usual, except Dave got an early start again, borrowed my car again, and had fingers crossed again, as did I,   that today would be the Money day.  I just wanted this damn sale to be over so I could have my boyfriend back.   And boy did time fly, seems like it was only 11am, Dave had made a round trip between Burbank, Redondo Beach and Back to Burbank, and came flying into my office with a big smile on his face. “Today’s the day, YEAH!”  He said.  My co-worker and dear friend Patrick was there as well, He was very excited too!  You see Patrick had been my sounding board, the one who had to listen and endure the months of agonizing and complaining I had done everyday in the office over this damn sale.   So needless to say we were all extremely happy and relieved that Dave had finally sold his business and he left me my car and left the office.  Patrick and I looked at each other and said “Now what’s Dave going to do?   So I get home from work that night about 7pm and was very excited to see Dave and talk more about the sale.  I walked in the front door, gave a quick hug and proceeded to the kitchen to make dinner.  Then Dave and I started to talk about the sale but quickly the discussion led to talk of his future Comedy career, you see I am not only the girlfriend but his Manager as well.  This is a very difficult position to be in.  Sometimes it becomes very hard to separate the personal critique from the professional critique and I know it’s hard for Dave too.   As a Comedy Manager, I sometimes have the awful task of having to tell my clients that they are not always right for a particular part or a particular market.  IN this case Dave and I began discussing the College market, in which I book comedians.  I had a deadline to submit Dave for a college booking conference and was trying to get a yes or no out of him, which isn’t always an easy task, since Dave is the kind of guys who likes to “stew” on things.  Anyway I was wearing my Comedy Manager hat and told Dave that I didn’t think his comedy was “right’ for the college market, but tried to phrase it in a way that was sensitive.  I won’t go into it all right now but basically Dave is a very funny political comic, smart and sometimes, as necessary uses profanity.  Profanity does not work in the College Market, at all.    So a big fight ensues and neither of us talk to each other for the rest of the evening.

 

Wednesday:  I go to work as usual, and have my TV on as usual in my office.  But Dave has a big day planned.  He is flying to New York today to see his Mom in Brooklyn, and to film a documentary on a 4 story Mural that she is painting.  The Mural is dedicated to Women Who Pursue Justice, and Dave has been flying back and forth between New York and Burbank for the past month to shoot video footage of this project for our production company and so his Mom will have a nice remembrance of all her hard work.  In fact we just bought a very nice broadcast quality video camera just a few weeks ago.  Perfect for the footage.  So anyway flying to New York is a regular thing for Dave, and so are his “before leaving town” errands such as taking our dog Bozley up to our friends Jon and Sand for a big hike before he leaves town.  Then about 2pm Dave calls me at my office and asks me to come pick him up from our house and take him to Burbank.  Since we live, and I work only about 5 blocks from the Burbank airport, this is a very easy thing to do and doesn’t take much time at all.  Of Course I’m still mad at Dave, so I take my time leaving the office shut my TV off and run out the door, pick up Dave and drop him off at the Burbank Airport, angry of course.  He says “kiss” and I gently lean over and turn my face to the side to give him an air kiss, but nothing special.  Then he tells me that he left me something in the top drawer of my dresser.  And I say “3000 dollars” excited as if I’m only thinking about the money he just made, and thinking that might be his way for making up for the fight.  And he says “No it’s a letter.”  And I just the door and off he goes. Life Lesson #3 Never take someone to the airport angry at them.  Make up first.  I go back to my office and the phones just go crazy busy and before you know it I have to run out again and head fro the Ice House Comedy Club to produce our weekly show Uncle Clyde’s Comedy Contest.  We also have auditions every Wednesday so we have to get there by 6:30 at the latest to hold auditions and start the show at 8pm.  So I arrive at the Ice House about 6:20 and realize that I needed to call one of the comics I manage Grant Baciocco to remind him about a gig or something,  funny I can’t actually remember why I called him now.  But as I’m speaking to him on the phone he says “Wait, just a minute I need to see what’s happening with this plane on the TV.”  And I says” What plane on the TV and he says “the one that left Burbank This afternoon, its making an emergency landing at LAX” and I say oh that’s funny Dave just got on a plane this afternoon from Burbank, and I say “But I think it was Southwest” The he says “well this was Jet Blue going to JFK, left Burbank at 3:17pm” And I said with absolute certainty.  “Dave’s on that plane!”  Dave’s on that Plane” Then says I think its ok they are landing.  And I say gotta go.  And I immediately call Dave…but there is no answer… So I begin to unload the car for our usual Wednesday Comedy Ritual, but am clearly distracted with the words in my head “Dave’s on that plane.”  I try the cell phone once more and, Dave answers, my heart drops and I ask “Where are you?  Are you on that plane?  The one landing at LAX?”  And just then I hear in the background a thunderous applause from people…sounding like they had just landed.  Of course they had just landed.  I said to Dave “Are you ok?”  And he said “Yes I’ll call you later!”   And then the Comedy Show began.

 

Uncle Clyde’s Comedy Show was a hit that night, we had a packed house and the audience had a great time we picked our sixth week winner and all was well, except for the fact that the whole evening, I get saying to everyone around me like a broken record, You know that plane that just landed, Dave was on that plane.”  10pm came before I knew it and as soon as I packed up and left the Ice House I got on the cell phone and called Dave one more time.  And thank goodness he answered!  “Where are you? “I’m at home” he said with quite a bit of excitement in his voice.  “Well tell me what happened” I said still not having seen any television footage that night whatsoever.  “Come home, I’ll tell you everything.”  He said.  Dave and I don’t really have long conversations on the phone; we are much more of face to face communicators.  That ride home seemed like an eternity.  I remember thinking Pasadena to Burbank its only 20 minutes but it felt like an hour.

 

So I arrived home and Dave was just sitting there on the couch with our brand new, very expensive broadcast quality video camera sitting out on the coffee table next to him. .  “What happened what happened?”  I was asking him.  And he proceeded to tell me all the details about this crazy day.  Including the fact that he had actually been watching the news coverage about the very plane he was on the back of the seat in front of him while all of this was happening.   Of course after Dave had told me all the details about what actually happened with the plane, then he told me that there was something else.  And I was like “what what what?”  And he then says “Well you know the video camera?  Well I had it on the plane” And I just sat back on the couch and said “What?”  And then we looked at each other and laughed, of course because he was sitting there alive and we were both so happy, but then he proceeds to tell me that he actually sold the footage to NBC for a 24 hours exclusive deal. So I realized in a time span of less than one days work I got in a fight with my boyfriend dropped him off on a plan that has to have an emergency landing and   he tapes footage from inside the plane and sells it to NBC for $8,000.  Now that’s a day.    We giggle and laugh and can hardly believe that all this has happened and that he is sitting right next to me and the dog at this very moment.   But then he gives me one of the strangest looks I’ve ever seen and proceeds to say “I said something to you on the tape?”  And I’m like “What?”  Seems that was the only word capable of coming out of my mouth during that conversation obviously.  At that moment I realized, oh god, Dave has been sitting on a plane that’s about to have an emergency landing and he decides to say something to me.  That can’t be good.  What would he have said, I was sure I didn’t actually want to watch the footage.  But I knew since he had already sold it that I should watch it before the nation did.  So I said, Ok show me the tape.  And we sat together and watched the tape.

 

The video footage was so compelling because of course we all want to know what it might feel like to be in a plane that is actually going down and what those last moments just before landing might feel like.  The first image that came up on the screen was of a TV screen on the back of the seat in front of him.  That’s was exceptionally strange because of what was actually on the TV;  shots of the very plane Dave was actually in, and he even told me that the news anchor was actually speaking to the passengers on the plane while Dave was shooting that footage.   The anchor was addressing the passengers by saying “We know that some of you on the plane might actually be watching this right now.”  My heart stopped when Dave explained that.  I went right to how he must have felt that moment.  I thought about the actual possibility of watching my own demise and what that would feel like. All very scary and strange. Over all the tape was very shaky and  scattered but every now and then Dave would zoom in on something special like an older couple sitting across from him that had traveled together often and purposely purchased an extra seat so they could have extra room.  The footage showed an amazing shot of their two hands rubbing each other very gently in a very comforting way.  Just watching the hands on the tape gave me the feeling that the two of them had been together for a very long time and that they both knew there was a slight chance that the plane might go down, but at least they would be together.  After some more scattered shots of the aisle way of the plane and such, finally I saw the part of the tape Dave told me about.  It was a goodbye message addressed to me.  Yikes.  I never thought I would actually be watching something like that with my partner actually sitting by my side.  That’s weird.  The message was very sweet, and basically said something like “Barb you get everything and I love you, and if I live through this you and I will sit together and watch this tape together and you’ll tell me what a goober I am.”  And that was exactly what was happening.  At that moment we stopped the tape, and I told Dave I was sorry for being such a bitch, and that I couldn’t believe that I would actually left him as mad as I was without any disregard for his safety.  I felt awful and selfish.   So as we sat together and finished watching the rest of the tape, we finally get to the part that many of you may have seen on the news.  A shot of the passengers arms down the aisle and the sound of the crew yelling out “Brace Brace Brace Brace” That was very scary to watch, obviously I knew Dave was all right because he was sitting there next to me, but still I wondered what he must have been thinking about and how scary it must have been to actually land a plane with your head between your legs.  I’ve never experience that before other than watching it on this tape.

 

Thursday:  What happened next might actually be scarier than the Plane’s actual emergency landing; the media frenzy.  We had finally gone to bed after a very long night, it was probably 2am or so.   Little did I know that I would be getting a wake up call at 4:30 am?  It was pitch black out side and the phone rang; it was 4:30am. The last time I woke up at that time I was actually going to bed.    I went to the phone all groggy and squinty eyed.  The call was from Inside Edition.  The man on the other end of line spoke to me in a very assertive voice and he said “Hello this is Inside Edition, we want the tape.”  I could barely understand what was being asked and I said: What who is this” and he said “It’s Carl, are you the girlfriend of Dave Reinitz, we understand that he has footage from inside the jet blue plane, we would like to interview you both and get the tape.”  And I replied “ok how much?”  of course knowing that Dave had sold the tape to NBC already for 8000 , lets just say I had a high number on my mind,  so I said, “10,000”  and Carl replied let me go check,  so he put me on hold and I waited and he came back with “3500,  we’ll give you 3500 for the footage.”  Then I said, “But wait there is a part of the tape that hasn’t been sold to NBC yet, are you interested in that piece?”  This was the footage of Isa Rahman, the gentleman who had been sitting next to Dave on the plane, and Dave actually filmed him giving a farewell message to his girlfriend as well.  Carl came back on the line quickly and said, “Yes we want that piece as well.”  We’ll give you $3500 for that as well.”  Then I heard a knock on the front door, I told Carl to wait a second there was someone at my front door.  It was still dark outside; this made me a little nervous after all we live in Burbank, CA no one knocks on our door at 4am.  Then Carl says “Oh don’t worry, that’s our guy, and I told him as soon as the lights came on to knock on your door.”  Oh great I thought we are being stalked by Paparazzi.  Then Carl gets back on the line and says, “Hey we need an answer from you, ASAP, because we are on east coast time and are trying to get this footage uploaded to our east coast feed before noon.”  I said “we have to talk to NBC first thing, give me till 8am, before I make a decision.”  But Carl just kept pushing and pushing, he wouldn’t even let me hang up the phone line.  I got his number and told him I would call him back but again he kept insisting that I didn’t hang up the phone, and that I keep him on hold.  It was weird.  I finally said “look Carl, I am hanging up the phone now, I will call you back when I have an answer for you, which will be after 8am and by the way we are not releasing anything until we get a contract or agreement from you” And I hung up.  The phone immediately rang again, and Carl says “have you made a decision yet?”  I say “I just hung up with you, I already told you that we need to talk to NBC and we’ll give you an answer after that” and I hung up the phone again. Then I went to take a shower knowing that I was in for a very long long day!

 

Before I was even finished with my shower Dave started calling to me, “Barb, Access Hollywood’s on the line, and I’m trying to get a hold of Isa, to ask him if it’s ok if we sell the footage”  And I yell out I’ll be done in a minute, enjoying every minute of privacy I could that morning.  Knowing full well that there wouldn’t be much more of it that day.

 

The minute I stepped out of the shower it got even crazier than I ever expected it could be. I went into our office and met Dave who said he had already contacted Isa’s roommate in New York, because strangely enough.  Isa lived only block s away from Dave’s mother Janet who happened to live in the Brooklyn area as well.  He had only spoken to Isa’s roommate who was trying to reach ISA who was on a flight from LAX that morning returning back home to Brooklyn.  At that same time our home phone rang, it was Carl again, I hung up.  Then the second ring was from NBC, I explained how nice they had been about everything and that Dave really appreciated the professionalism they had showed in regards to this whole event.  I also asked them about selling the tape tom someone else and they said as long as we keep it 24 hours exclusive with NBC the rest was up to us.   Then they said that Access Hollywood would like to do an interview with us.  Could they pick us up at our home at 8am?  And of course I said yes and hung up.  The phone rang AGAIN, SURPRISE It was Carl from Inside Edition again.  I told him we had just spoken to NBC and that we were probably going to sell them the footage as well but first we needed to get through this NBC interview.  And Carl says” can you give my guy the tape before you go?”  And I said “no I don’t think so it’s our only copy, we will have to get it duped first.”  And before I knew it, it was 8am and Access Hollywood was at the door ready to pick us up and so was Carl’s Lackey, waiting at the door with open hands ready to scoop that tape right out of our hands.  But we said NO of course, because we didn’t have a contract from Inside Edition yet.  We got into our own car, and decided to follow the access Hollywood guy instead of riding with him, and the Inside edition guy followed us.  We drove to the NBC lot, which happens to be in Burbank, and the Inside Edition guys get cut off there. And surprise my phone rings again and it’s Carl, saying we need to get the tape, and that he has sent an agreement to my office for us to sign.  I call my office and there is no agreement on the fax machine, so I tell Carl No tape yet.  I hang up and he calls back yet again.

 

We finally make it onto the NBC lot for our Access Hollywood interview.  The nice gentleman who had come to pick us up at our house was now guiding into the NBC Lot, amazingly as we drive in he gets out of his car and  he uses his security to let our car through, but right behind is was the Inside Edition gentleman in his car.  He got cut off of course…and we weren’t that upset about that.   Strange that as we walked onto the lot we actually saw a comic friend of ours who writes for the tonight show.  That’s was cool.  She looks over at us and says “What are you guys doing here” And I point to Dave and says “Some people will do anything to get on National television.

 

We walked over to an empty park bench in the middle of the NBC lot, it seemed a little cheesy to be honest, no sound stage no light, camera action, just the Johnny Carson Park and a bench for our interview.  WE turned off our cell phone, oh what a relief to not have Carl calling constantly.  The interview seemed to go quickly, at least quickly once we began.  They had asked us to wait a little while before starting the interview because there was a celebrity coming they told us.  A celebrity Terrance Manning was on the plane sitting behind Dave.  Dave had no idea who she actually was.  And they told us she was excited to meet us. Funny since we didn’t have a clue who SHE was.   So we waited at least 10 minutes just chit chatting with the cameraman until finally we just decided to go ahead with the interview without waiting for the big celebrity to arrive.

 

After the interview we turned on our cell phone and once again it rang and guess who it was?  That’s right Carl from Inside edition, we decided to give in and go over to a building near NBC for an interview with inside edition.   I think this was where things changed for me that day.  It was only about 10am yet it seemed like it was already 6pm or later.  The inside edition people weren’t nearly as friendly as NBC… in fact they were borrowing someone else’s building for the interview…and they just seemed like hounds for the TAPE.    Also I decided to check the voicemail and I couldn’t believe my ears there were at least 20 messages from everyone from the O Reilly factor to Good morning America.  It was very hard to hear, and I wasn’t sure who to call back first, but just then the phone rings again and of course its guess who?  So finally we give in to Carl and say that we will go ahead and do the Inside Edition interview, so suddenly of course the guy in the car who had been following us earlier, suddenly appeared, and voila we were following him to a building that was just across the street from NBC.  Took us maybe 1 minute to actually get there.  And of course the cameramen asked for the tape but we hadn’t actually said yes yet.  At that time we started to build a team, Dave and I huddled into an empty office and decided to make a plan of action for the day including calling a publicist and the attorney.  WE also talked about priorities like “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart and The O Reilly factor.  Since Dave was a political comedian it seemed appropriate fro him to choose these shows.  From the other room the Inside Edition Cameramen are calling.   So we both agree to keep a calm cool head and move forward with caution.  I dial the publicist one more time and encourage them to make calls for us that might have the potential to get Dave some good national television exposure.  I hang up the phone and follow Dave into another office where the cameramen were waiting to film an interview.   Everything was so surreal really I had not idea what time it was or what was happening.   I just listened to Dave tell his story on the camera, and had a realization that I had never seem him quite so serious really.  They decide not to interview me, which was actually a little bit of a relief.  I’m still not sure I had gathered my thoughts enough ton actually say something intelligent.  The interview is over and we go down the elevator with the Inside Edition PA’s and camera guys and ask them about their jobs.  Very high pressure they said and that they are always on the go.  I was happy not to be in the news business.  But no sooner did we actually step out of the elevator that Carl had someone found us once again.  This time it was Dave’s phone ringing and once again, Carl was asking for the tape.  I only knew this by Dave’s tone of voice.  He started to pace in the lobby of this office building in which we had no connection and somehow within a few moments I simply heard Dave telling Carl to quote “Take his measly 3500 dollars and shove it up his ass.”  I watched Dave hang up the phone and I realized at that moment I think he had to be more stressed out than he was actually sitting on that plane.  We walked out to our car trying to gather our thoughts, and we drove home.  All by 11:30 am.

 

I’ll never forget walking up to our doorstep at that moment and seeing an array of business cards on the mat.  Card for ABC, Extra, Good Morning America.  What the hell?  I couldn’t believe it, it just wasn’t stopping.  We walked into the house, and the phone rang yet again.  I can’t remember really how many times that Carl called that morning, but I know he must have called more times that day than anyone else had ever called us in a year.  But finally it was time for this frantic calling to come to an end.   We agree to give Carl the tape he so desperately wanted.  Dave had spoken to the attorney on the other line and we all agreed we would give Inside Edition the Tape for 3500.  But only if I physically agreed to take the tape back down the office building I had just left and sit there with one of the Producers while they actually uploaded the tape to New York.  I went and I did, watch and press play…and only on the piece of tape that involved ISA, we would begin referring to the footage as the “Isa” tape.   I got in the car and drove back down to the office building across from NBC.  There seemed to be a person waiting for me at the front door, who then escorted me to the elevator and up to the 4th floor.  Without even so much as a hello we got right to business.  He walked me into a control room with at least 100 television feeds going on.  I didn’t even know that such a room existed in that building, and I looked on the screens that happened to be showing porno flicks of all things, “Oh don’t worry about those”  the Asian man said to me.  Luckily I looked over at another screen and saw the occasionally news bite on some other television screen and then a cut to Extra or Access Hollywood on another.  Ahh the business of television I thought to myself.  Then I followed the man in between rows and rows of screens till finally we crouch down in the middle of an aisle with a small television monitor or laptop type device that seemed to be plugged into the wall.  This was the device we would use to upload the video too New York, only 5 minutes before they would actually air it on Inside Edition that day!  The news busy is very fast paced and last minute.  I knew at that moment that I could never work in the news business.

 

I went back to my office and started to return phone calls for the first time.  I realized I was acquiring quite a press list.  I also realized that there was no way humanly possibly that I would actually be able to return all then phone calls that day.  But I did what I could and finally realized that maybe it would be best to try and get all the press in one place.  So I called the publicist and arranged a press conference for Dave at the Ice House at 5pm.  Then back on the phone I was and updating Dave’s website with news and press links.  The hits on Dave’s website went from 50 to over 20,000 in one day!  Ahh the power of the media.

 

The day ended much better than it started.  We ended up going to our second home, The Ice House and I managed to get Dave a spot in the main room. His comedy was great from what I heard; I was working in the second room running a show that we had planned weeks before.  I enjoyed hearing about Dave’s set and remember my favorite joke of the night was when he told me that he wasn’t getting any laughs and he just said onstage “Hey I almost died yesterday!”  And the whole audience cracked up.  Now that’s irony.

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail