You will not believe this story.
I was in the middle of an exceptionally heavy travel season at work. I’m talking about being on the road for the better part of the month for several months in a row. It was rather exhausting.
Then one night I was getting off a flight somewhere in America (not home, I think it was Charlotte) and I reached into the overhead bin for my bag….only to discover that some “jack-wagon” had taken my bag by mistake!
Once I get off the flight I check in with the gate agent to see if anyone had reported grabbing the wrong bag. No luck.
I run down through the airport like OJ Simpson in one of those old Hertz commercials back before his rather dark turn. No luck.
I go back to the gate….gate agents gone now. No luck.
This is all happening at like 11pm at night mind you so the place is clearing out. I eventually make my way down to baggage claim to talk to the lady in “lost luggage”.
For some reason, that lonely room with the lowest ranking airline employee assigned to this horrible job, always reminds me of the Island of misfit toys scene of Rudolf fame.
Anyway, there sits one unclaimed bag from my flight. So, I explain my situation, and ask about checking that bag for ID or contact information. The poor queen of the island of misfit toys explains that it is against their policy to go through someone’s luggage checking for…..
…and before she finishes her sentence I am all up inside this passengers shorts and socks digging around for a clue. I find what I need, and make a few late night calls to friends, colleagues, and family unfortunate enough to be listed on some printed emails in his bag.
No one is sleeping until I get my bag back!
About an hour and a half later I got my bag back from a very apologetic guy who had a job interview in the morning and was panicked about not having HIS bag. This happened almost 10 years ago and I am still angry at this dude!
And then a week or so ago…
…I was getting off a flight in Atlanta and reached into the overhead bin for my bag….(ten years later and I still keep an eye on all the other passengers and what bag they are grabbing)…very careful to confirm that I grab the black bag (they’re almost all black) with the green ribbon in the spot where I put it.
Black check. Green check. Spot check.
I stop into the airport food court for lunch before I grab a cab to the hotel. My phone rings with a Houston number that I do not recognize. Another dang spam call. Man those are annoying. Reject.
Next thing you know, I get a text. RETURN TO THE GATE YOU HAVE THE WRONG BAG. Before that message sinks in I’m thinking…’more spam!’
Well it doesn’t take long before I figure out what has happened….I’m now on the phone with the guy and he could not have been nicer and more patient. I get back to the gate and swap bags and apologize profusely while relaying to him that this had happened to me some years ago as well and I was still mad about it.
He started naming folks and asking if I knew them. They were all Acquisition Executives for the company that I work for. It turns out that he was a Commercial Real Estate Broker that we do business with and was calling them one at a time to track me down.
So there are a couple of life lessons that I took away from this experience. First, green ribbon is not unique enough FOR ME to overcome the all black bag trend amongst travelers. Second, if you are going to mistakenly abscond with someone’s bag….make sure to always choose a victim with a financial stake in your success as to avoid any unpleasantries.
Oh….and I have recently found it in my heart to forgive the ‘jack-wagon’ from 10 years earlier.