Two years ago I returned from New Zealand on the flights from hell (and with what turned out to be pneumonia)....Aukland to Sydney, then to LAX, exasperating trip through customs, walk to domestic terminal, long wait for the Redeye to Philadelphia, then to Charlotte for a very close connection to Roanoke, which I boarded at the last minute, only to be told I was on the wrong plane because the gates had been changed at the last minute.
The flight attendant rather unceremoniously ushered me off the plane and gave me back my boarding pass and told me to go to a gate some distance away.
When I got there the plane had left - nobody bothered to offer to hold it for me.
As I mentioned I was already sick, and, when the man at the gate told me I'd missed it, I burst into tears. In seconds he was on the phone, had located another flight for Roanoke that was about to depart, got a golf cart and escorted me to the gate, where they WERE holding the plane.....and I was seated in the only available seat, in First Class.
I haven't had to resort to tears since, but I am keeping it in reserve. The squeaking wheel, you know.....