Thursday, January 12, 2012

Whatever you do, don't leave your jacket!

Two takeoffs, two landings. In Mexico City, I had to pick up my checked luggage and ride a train to get to the domestic terminal for the final leg of this trip. It was necessary to go through immigration and inspection, then through another security to get from the train into the terminal. Once inside, I had to obtain a boarding pass from a Kiosk and then stand in a long line so AeroMexico could check my lone piece of luggage. Another set of security checkpoints later I was in the right place, gate 72, with a couple of hours to kill.

A bathroom break, a sandwich, a long series of wanderings up and down the concourse for exercise, rolling the little back-back with everything of value in it, carrying my purse and book bag, then finally another bathroom break. Suddenly it dawned on me the red and black velour jacket, my favorite worn out thin-elbowed jacket was no longer part of my baggage entourage. I checked both bathrooms with a sinking heart. Of course if I left it in one of them it would be long gone. I went back to the security checkpoint and saw it on a shelf in one of those gray plastic containers they make you put your shoes in.

The fellow at the checkpoint was very nice but never acknowledged that the jacket in the container might be mine. No, instead he wanted to see my boarding pass. I pulled it out of my pocket. He looked it over very carefully, studied it really, pulled out his radio and made a call. Turned his back on me and took the pass over to a group of other security types with uniforms and chatted with them, then came back and with his back to me the whole time made a couple more calls. Finally he turned and asked me about the airline I came in on, or maybe he said the one I’m going out on. I wasn’t sure. What I'd given him was a Continental airlines boarding pass. Then it hit me! It was the one from the flight INTO Mexico City. Everything about it was wrong, the times written on it were long passed and I was in a terminal that serviced only AeroMexico. One would think he could have pointed that out in the first minute of studying it.

I apologized and gave him the current boarding pass. He turned his back again, made another call or two on his radio, chatted with (and kissed on the cheek) several women in uniforms who, apparently, had just showed up for work, and finally he asked for my passport. Then, his back to me again, he hunched over and studied the papers some more.

Now I was getting a bit nervous. The man had both the boarding pass and my passport and was still showing no sign of giving me the red jacket. At this point I was fully prepared to leave it behind when he turned with a form in his hand. He had painstakingly filled in my name, passport number, date of birth, etc. All I had to do was sign my name. He popped the jacket out of the box, gave me my papers, and wished me well.

Whew. I gotta pay more attention!!!

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