It never fails that if there is a pat down to be done at airport security, I will get it. These pat downs don’t upset me, and I don’t feel the need to go to the “private room” for that search. My husband says my hair attracts attention and that is why the TSA people focus on me. I don’t know what that means. Do the TSA people think when they see me, “Look at her hair; she sort of looks like a clown and clowns are usually nice people and don’t get mad unless they are serial killers, so she is a good person to search”?
Anyway, I headed to the airport in Dayton after the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, and I assumed I would receive that extra special “touch” of airport hospitality, so I was prepared. I took my bins, separated out my laptop from my purse, shoes, etc and went through the scanner. At the other end of the scanning tunnel, I grabbed my bins, put my laptop back in its bag, I took my purse and reached for my shoes. And this is where the problems began. There was only one shoe. The scanning tunnel ate my other shoe.
At first, I thought I just missed it in the bin, but there was no shoe to be found. The female TSA agent, who I am sure was about to ask me to step aside for my personal search, asked what was wrong. I explained the situation, and she started to search the bins, and I could see she was puzzled as well. She called to her colleague manning the scanner,
“We have a missing shoe. It’s got to be in there.” And the male TSA agent yelled back, and I’m sorry to pick on men, but this was such a male comment,
“Is she sure she had it when she walked in?”
The female agent looked at me as to say, “Is he for real?” But instead what came out of her mouth was,
“What is wrong with you? Of course, she had two shoes.” So, the search for the missing black shoe began. I had to board in less than 15 minutes and I had to walk to the last gate which meant I had to find some shoes somewhere to wear. So, the announcement went out,
“We have a missing size 5 ½ black, ballet flat shoe – it’s for a left foot.”
Frankly, I didn’t think the left foot part was necessary unless another passenger was missing a right black ballet flat in size 5 ½, but again, what do I know? About five minutes into the search, I asked if any of the airport stores sold flip flops or anything like that so I could at least have two shoes when I got off the plane in Philly. And the TSA agent said,
“You will not buy shoes; you came in with two, you are leaving with two.” I did like her confidence.
After several scans, there was no sign of my missing shoe. I was sure it wound up in someone else’s bin and they just shoved it in their laptop case with their other junk. But then another passenger, who joined in the volunteer effort, peered into the tunnel that scanned the bins and noticed a bump on the conveyor belt.
“I’ve located the black shoe. It’s there!” And she pointed to my missing shoe. A TSA guy reached into the scanner and pulled it out. There was a small round of applause when he emerged with my shoe, and I felt a bit like Cinderella when he bent down and put it on the floor. I slipped on my shoe and waved goodbye to the TSA agents as I skipped toward my gate.
The TSA in Dayton were so nice and so sympathetic to my plight and I chalked that up to those solid Midwest manners that are so apparent. I considered myself fortunate that the shoe went missing in Dayton and not in Philadelphia. I have to think that if I had informed the TSA in Philly that my shoe didn’t come out of the scanner, the response would have been:
“Can you hop?”