All of us have bumps on the roads of our lives. I have found that how I accept the jolt, weather the discomfort, minimize my suffering and learn from it can all be most instructive.
In this case suffering is defined as demanding that experience be different from what it actually is. A recent example is approaching the Delta Air Lines ticket counter for our trip to Houston. As I was providing the agent the flight information, Nancy handed her driver’s license to the woman and I opened my wallet to do the same. I was shocked discovering it was not there! I was in disbelief! I was scared!
The Delta agent was most calm and soothing, apparently seeing the shocked expression on my face. She asked me questions to help solve my problem. Did I remember where I last saw it? Are there any other cards missing in my wallet? The answer to both questions was “No.” She then asked me for two other forms of identification with my name on them. When I provided such (credit and Medicare cards), she checked our luggage, issued our boarding passes and coached me on how to approach the Transportation Security Administration. She was reassuring that my situation was not uncommon and I would be able to make my flight.
The TSA agent called a supervisor who took both forms of identification I showed the Delta agent and my boarding pass. He then directed me to follow him to another agent who was going to conduct a full body pat down, go item by item through my carry-on, then test my carry-on for drugs and explosives. Now I am not all cool and calm about this, but I am hearing a former yoga instructor’s voice saying, “Breathe in slowly and fully, hold and slowly exhale. Repeat.”
The very professional agent asked me if he could do the pat-down in public or would I prefer it done privately. I wanted to make the request that the female TSA agent on the other scanning line, who could have been Halle Berry’s twin, might do the pat-down in private, but I wanted to make my flight. “Right here will be fine,” I responded.
I passed everything and they sent me on my way, but not without me expressing my gratitude to the individual for being so thorough. He also was reassuring that my situation of not having a driver’s license or passport was not uncommon. Never knew that!
More bumps on the road. In Houston the agent at the car rental counter took my credit card and Nancy’s driver’s license. For the first time ever, she would be driving the rental and it was raining — no, it was pouring on a highway neither of us had ever traveled. By the time we arrived at the hotel, she was frazzled.
As Nancy’s IQ surpasses mine by a mile, she suggested I call my doctor and ask them to fax a copy of my license to the hotel. They did. I then drove with kinda like having a license. I called my buddy back in Monroe, Deputy Sheriff James Vaughn, who suggested I file a report because I would need such a document to obtain a new license. I called and accomplished that task.
On our return to Atlanta, the same TSA scenario reappeared, even as I had a paper copy, 8x11 mind you, of my license.
After a wonderful trip visiting with my sisters and parts of their families, we got home safely. On the day I was heading to the Department of Driver Services in Between with the report from the Sheriff’s Office in hand, Nancy called me.
Ms. Superior IQ found my license in the copier, where it was resting after I had apparently made a copy of it for something. I have no recollection whatsoever of doing such a thing.
My carelessness set the stage for refreshing the reality that in crisis (minor as mine was), there are people willing to reassure and help, especially Nancy. She drove 45 minutes in pouring rain, never complaining.
Now I am including one additional item on my travel checklist: open wallet, verify license and credit cards are present.