Humanity For The Win
TLDR: Humanity wins over TSA and poor planing. Together we can do anything.
I planned to arrive 45 minutes before boarding starts. A reasonable plan I still defend to this day. The problem with the plan was it’s inception. I calibrated against plane TAKE OFF time, not BOARDING time. So I arrived with 15 mins until boarding starts. After driving in circles for ~8 minutes.. Panic began to set in... I see a gentleman walking through the garage, I shout out “Are you leaving?”, he says “Nope.”, I was desperate, so I asked for help. “Any tip on where to park?” … and with that I got my first tiny glimpse into the power of humanity. “Sure, there is a spot up against the back wall on row #2.” I raced down to the back wall and found the empty spot immediately. I grabbed my bag and jumped out of the jeep. Got to the elevators and realized my sunglasses were back in the jeep. Dammit! One cannot travel without sunglasses. Back to the jeep, grab the glasses, back to the elevator. Take it down to the lobby and as it opens, I looked for my boarding pass to match gate destination… ANNNNNNNDDD it’s back in the fucking JEEP! I push the elevator button back to floor 7, sprint back to the jeep, grab the boarding pass THAT WAS RIGHT NEXT to the spot on my dash previously occupied by my sunglasses! Back down to the terminal where I’m told “other side of the airport”. I sprint to that terminal and arrive at the beginning of a 45 min security line.
I asked the nice TSA lady, ”Is it possible to expedite me through security check due to my impending boarding time (already started boarding)?” Somehow, she managed to simultaneously deny my request and convey contempt for it, whilst sprinkling a nice helping of hopelessness over the whole thing. “Not… a…. chance…..” I stood there for a minute, accepting that my poor planning had led me to this end.
And then, from deep with-in, I felt a surge of “No! no no NO!” And I was struck with an entirely improbable solution… I can ask for help from my fellow humans. And with that, in my best teacher voice, I announced “EXCUSE ME, UHH EVERYONE, PLEASE!?” A mix of panic and curiosity washed over the crowd, nearly all turned and fixed me with a gaze. “I WILL MISS MY PLANE, DUE TO MY OWN POOR PLANNING.” I was having to talk really loud, to everyone in line. It was awkward sweeping my ticket in the air, looking all around as I continued “IF A SINGLE PERSON OBJECTS THEN I WON’T DO IT.. BUT IF EVERYONE AGREES, HUMANITY CAN SAVE ME TODAY!” I just sort of repeated that… and eventually some guy in the back yells’ “YEA!” then a lady from the opposite side claps and says “Let him through!!”.. then more clapping and I was ushered forward. I ducked ropes, moved around people and thanked the crowd as I arrived at the front. There was a small cheer, and I got busy putting my stuff onto the conveyor belt.
While I was busy taking my belt off, TSA inserted a person next to me in line. Fine with me, but they put her stuff in the middle of mine. I simply asked could they swap her stuff closest to me with my bag which was now on the opposite side of her. They accommodated and swapped our bags. I think this confusion let to our next detour. This lady’s bags were diverted along with mine. TSA agents began asking me “Are you the one plus one?” I replied like any normal human: “I don’t know what you mean. But I think you accidentally pulled my bag aside?” He repeated his question to me at least two more times to me, ignoring my response each time. I began to give up. This secondary line seemed extremely slow and TSA was not communicating with me at all.
A nice traveler came through security and I recognized her as one of my most enthusiastic supporters from my previous journey through the line. She says “Sweetie are you going to make your plane, why are you still here?” I explained the inserted person, the bag mixup, and the TSA’s refusal to exchange meaningful words. She says “No. You wait here.” She marched right up to the most senior looking TSA agent and explained.. “Listen here! This nice young man is standing here because the ENTIRE line let him cut through. Now you’ve mistakenly taken his bag and you’re going to be the reason all this good will goes to waste!” A few seconds of silence, then a flurry of activity from the TSA agents left me holding my bags and thanking this kind stranger. If you’re keeping count, that’s: TSA 0 — Humanity 3
My ticket did not have the gate number on it so I flashed the TSA agent and asked “Where??” She rushed me towards a tram that was about to leave and said “THERE! get on that tram!” I nearly missed it… as it pulled away I relaxed for the 3 minute ride. It was nearing plane take-off time and I began to make myself ok with missing the plane. I mean it was an incredible try. I went to the information desk on the other side of the tram and she promptly informed me i took the wrong tram!! BACK on the tram to the other side, then take proper tram to my terminal. I hop off and run to gate 78, where I find it deserted. Of course it’s gone, of course it is.. well just to get the ball rolling I go to gate 77 and show them my boarding pass “I think i missed my plane, can you tell me what to do next?” … Some super fast typing.. “Right over there sir, they moved to gate 74, there was some delay earlier. I see four people still in line.” … I felt like I was accepting an award for most unlikely traveler to board a plane. I lumbered onto the plane an fell, exhausted, into my seat.
I can’t help but smile. Listen, I get that exactly ZERO of my problems were _real_ problems. Each of my obstacles were clearly 1st world in nature and largely of my own making. But this makes humanities intervention on my behalf even more amazing to me. I admitted my poor planning and asked for help, humanity delivered. It felt incredible to be on the receiving side and now I will do my best to pay that forward and be part of humanity that delivers for all of us. I can only