Airport Security with a Smile

All of the drama, caused by Christmas Day’s foiled bomb plot in Detroit and the recent Newark Airport fiasco, makes me remember the time in 2005 my husband slipped through airline security. We were at JFK airport, and I was pissed to be flying to a California wedding alone. My date was supposed to be my then boyfriend, now husband, Kevin. But I wasn’t so sure about the potential for matrimony that day. I was so angry he’d waited until the last minute to get an updated photo ID for travel. It hadn’t come in the mail before the trip, and I was dreading having to attend another wedding alone. I could foresee the doom: Everyone all coupled up in the spirit of love, and me in a pretty summer dress, on my blackberry, trying to look busy. It was way too depressing to accept. So I poked out my bottom lip and gave Kevin the best long, sourpuss face I could muster. He sucked his teeth, exhaled and tied his shoulder length locks into a pony tail. Two days before the trip, he pulled out an old work ID. Slipped inside a clear plastic name tag holder, like the kind worn at professional conventions, was a small passport picture of him with a short afro.  The address and date (which had long since passed) were written in ink. And Kevin was holding it with a smug smile as if our problems had been solved. I was like, “What the hell is that?” My nose curled up. “That won’t get you through.”

I was sure that airport security, especially post 911, would never let someone with a hand written ID pass the check point. That only happened in the Twilight Zone. Kevin and I argued over his illogical fantasy and my impending nightmare and then ran to the airport. I stomped to the automatic ticket machine, printed the boarding passes and marched to the check-in desk to ask about my boyfriend’s raggedy, so-called identification. The agent pointed us to a short, brown lady who looked about 60 with glasses. Her wrinkles stretched into a warm, pudding sweet smile as we approached and broke down our dilemma. I asked if we should go to the TSA office and explain the situation. But grandma took the ID, looked at it, and gave a gingerbread grin. “Just hold it like this,” she said, placing Kevin’s thumb over the date. “You should be ok.”  My face twisted from defeat to disbelief. “Are you sure?” She was still smiling saying,  “You’ll be fine, if not, come back to me.” We slowly walked to the security check in. Kevin was breaking into a nervous sweat. I wiped his forehead, waiting to be turned away. And then he flashed the officer his ID, careful to keep a thumb where he’d been told. And in a split, surreal second it was over. Luggage cleared check in, we were on our flight to California, and I smiled embarrassed for having ever been pissed.

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11 Responses to “Airport Security with a Smile”

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    Guess they never found the NunChucks in your carry on.

    Sometimes the simple solution is the BEST solution

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  2. Little did you know it was the first step to linking love and paperwork. Sigh.

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