Exclusive: Chester Pitts II and Ephraim Salaam talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/15/2013
The Amazing Race eliminated Chester Pitts II and Ephraim Salaam during Sunday night's third broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 23rd season.
The "Former NFL Teammates" became the third team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's third Pit Stop at Castelo Dos Mouros, a ninth century castle, in Lisbon, Portugal, in last place. The pair encountered nothing but problems when it came to booking flights and delayed connecting flights.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Chester and Ephraim talked about their The Amazing Race experience and devastating elimination. Below is the first half of the interview. Check back with us on Wednesday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: What time did your final flight actually land when you met Phil Keoghan? How far do you think you were behind the pack at that point?
Ephraim Salaam: We got there the next morning, so it was early the next morning. It was already the next day, so we got there almost a day behind everyone else when they arrived -- when that first team arrived in the Lisbon airport. We got there almost a day behind them, so it was pretty tragic.
Reality TV World: Did it worsen the blow of your elimination considering you guys actually started out the leg in first place?
Chester Pitts II: So, (laughs) we obviously had a lot of time to talk this out and regroup when we were behind like 24 hours. In our conversation, we weighed out all the options: What can we do? What's going to happen? What's it going to turn into? -- And at the end of the day, we just had to resolve to know that there are certain things in life that you can't control.
And there are certain things that you can, and we were truly in a tragic situation where there was nothing we could do to better than what we did. We ran around four airports in four countries for 24 hours straight trying to get to Portugal as fast as we could. So we just knew it was what it was, there was nothing more we could do.
Reality TV World: So did it make your elimination a little easier or harder given the fact you basically got eliminated due to a mistake the travel agent made and it was out of your hands?
Ephraim Salaam: It's never easy to get eliminated from anything whether it's your fault or someone else's. It's harder when it's not your fault. When you get eliminated from your own actions, you can deal with it because you did it yourself! [If] that was something where we made a mistake, you can deal with that.
But if it's out of your control, you kind of talk it up like, "Look," -- you'd use the "if" word a lot -- if we would've gotten there, if we would've done that, because everything is such a great unknown. And that's a bad feeling.
I just, you know, I want people to really know that being trapped in that airport -- if you're traveling internationally and you get stuck caught in transition, when you go from one country to the next country and you don't have the proper payment, paperwork, to go outside of the transition area to go out where the gates are, then you can't buy tickets. They don't sell tickets inside the airport, inside the concourse.
Like in America, you can go to the Delta counter and buy a ticket or American Airlines and buy a ticket at the counter. In the concourse. You can't do that anywhere else in the world. So once you're stuck in there, you're stuck, like there's no way you can get out and buy tickets, because there's no place for you to buy a ticket from!
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Reality TV World: When you guys got off that final flight, you were really hustling and telling each other, "Let's go, let's go!" But then you saw Phil moments later. So did you actually have any hope you could survive the leg? What was going through your minds at that point?
Chester Pitts II: Yeah, we had plenty of time to talk about this. At the end of the day, one thing Ephraim and I -- we made a pact. We had a plan that no matter what happens, we were going to be and stay true to who we are. And nothing else.
We weren't quitters; We were always fighters. So, you know, at the end of the day, until we were told otherwise, we were going to run the Race exactly the same way we would've run the Race if we would've gotten there 15 hours sooner. It didn't matter.
Reality TV World: Do you have any explanation how that miscommunication could've possibly happened to begin with between you guys and the female travel agent that booked you on a flight the next day?
Ephraim Salaam: I got it. We got there literally 40 minutes before the next team did, so we were in that travel agency for a long time. We gave the young lady our information of what we needed to do, and she typed it in wrong. She caught it because it wouldn't let her buy the tickets.
So instead of her just clearing out the system and starting over, she decided that she wanted to call the airlines and do it over the phone. And they just kept her on hold! We kept asking her, "Is everything okay?" And she kept smiling and giving us the thumbs-up. So for 30 minutes, she just kept smiling and giving us the thumbs-up -- smiling and getting eye-winks from her too.
Chester Pitts II: Oh yeah, like for intents and purposes, we thought we were on the flight because she gave us the "A-okay." She said everything was good, everything was great.
And then when the bearded bros [Brandon Squyres and Adam Switzer] came in as the second team and sat down, their guy told them, "Hey, there's no more flights." Because they asked to be on our flight and their guy said, "Hey, there's no more seats. There were only two seats available," so they didn't even look! They didn't even look at that flight.
That's how assured everyone in there was, and the lady -- when [Nicole Jasper and Travis Jasper] came in, she just looked for the earliest flight and then the flight that we were supposed to be on popped up, because the lady was still on the telephone trying to switch it instead of just clearing out the system and doing it all over again.
Reality TV World: So just to make sure, you guys didn't have to complete any of the leg's tasks, is that correct? I think the only time Phil's met a team like that in the past was when he had to head to the next Pit Stop because so much time had elapsed.
Ephraim Salaam: Yeah, we never did anything. We didn't even know what the challenges were.
Chester Pitts II: We got to see the baggage claim! It was a really nice baggage claim though. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: (Laughs) Oh my gosh, that's terrible. So did it completely surprise you guys to see Phil at the airport? As I said, most of the time, teams would still have to complete all the leg's tasks before being able to check-in regardless of how far behind the other teams they are.
Ephraim Salaam: If you look at Chester's reaction, he was like, "Oh man, this is not good." I mean, that was classic. (Laughs) We knew something had gone horribly wrong seeing him that early in the airport. We were still holding out hope, and then we saw him, and it was all just destroyed.
Chester Pitts II: Yeah.
Above is the first half of Chester and Ephraim's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Wednesday for the concluding portion.