Not even one hour into my flight out of the country, and without a doubt, the most stressful experience of my life occurs. Picture this.
Casey and I board the plane Atllanta bound, giddy to say the least. As soon as we take off and are climbing higher and higher into the atmosphere, I got this feeling I should find my passport, which I had nonchalantly thrown in my bag after we’d checked them at the gate. After flipping through SkyMall once, I pulled out my backpack to find the little blue book. As I began to search pocket after pocket, unzipping compartment after compartment, my anxiety grew. It was nowhere to be found. Not only could I not find my passport, but my travel wallet, well equipped with my driver’s license, debit card, and credit card were missing as well. My heart began to beat faster and faster as I shakily asked Casey to hold a couple of my books as I rummaged through the deep abyss.
My mind raced as I tried to recount the last place I had held my little pile of documents. There I was, 1600 feet in the air, fifteen minutes into my flight to the other side of the country, and knowing that in the back of my mind the sudden realization that my trip would stop dead in it’s tracks without those tokens of passage. I looked through my things again, flipping through every page of every book sorting through everything I owned. Shakily, I pressed the service button, and a flight attendant came over. When I told her all my documentation was MIA, the look on her face said everything. Her mouth quivered a little as she went to get another attendant, who I told the story to again. I’d had it in my front jacket pocket the whole time in the airport, and thought maybe I’d set it down during a Starbuck’s run. She collected some information, and had the pilot radio the SLC Airport to see if anything had turned up. Meanwhile, I spend the three hour plane ride in a living hell. Casey graciously paid the big bucks for me for Wi Fi, and as soon as it was up and running, I wrote my professor an email to let him know what was going on., then quietly flipped through my belongings again and again, as my mind raced as to what my fate would be. Casey patted my arm, told me we’d find everything, and tried to be some sort of consonance. The flight attendant came back, and much to my dismay, she told me nothing had been found at the airport. Upon arrival at Atlanta, an agent would meet me, and we could try to “sort things out”, but one thing was for sure- I was not leaving the country.
I looked through my things again and again. All I could think of was sitting in ATL by myself. I didn’t have my cell phone, I didn’t have any ID, and all I could think about was that dreaded, horrific image of me, standing by a payphone with borrowed quarters, calling home and recounting the sad story to my folks, and then pleading them to fork over some more money for me to get a plane home. My appetite was gone, my mouth was dry, and I even passed up airline pretzels. This whole ordeal was a mess, and I was stranded in an airplane completely helpless. As the longest flight of my life began to end and the plane descended, I gathered my things, andI was reaching down to put my seatbelt on, when suddenly when something caught my eye. I yelled a handful of profane phrases as my eyes rested upon the most beautiful sight of my life- passport and wallet right underneath my armrest.
I wanted to cry a little, scream a little, and maybe become the next YouTube sensation and dance around the plane, However, I refrained and just thanked God that I was going to Spain again. The people around me all congratulated me as I called the flight attendant to tell her I’d found my stuff.
Thanks to her for trying to help me out and run around the plane like we were in the deleted scenes from Flight Plan
Thanks to Casey for bringing some feel good tunes, buying me my internet, and cracking a few jokes then and again.
Thanks to the moving truck driver sitting next to me for praying that I’d recover my passport as we descended. (He must have the best prayers- found it right after that)
And thanks to me for developing a little common sense. From now on I will most definitely be using that annoying but highly helpful silken money belt fanny pack thing. Better now than later to learn this lesson, right?
As for now, I’m back on track to Spain and currently soaring over the Atlantic, eating Delta’s complimentary dinner of pasta and wilted salad, was offered time and time again complimentary wine by the attendant with a southern accent, and now thinking it might be time for some shut eye, seeing as we’ll be there 8:30 AM Spain time, but 11:30 PM Utah time.
Life is good. Good night America and good morning España.