I am never late. I arrive thirty minutes early for lunch, dinner dates, lectures, doctor’s appointments, and classes. I arrive at the airport two hours before my flight is scheduled to take off. I want to avoid possible traffic tickets, flat tires, traffic jams, and car accidents. Today I am thankful to arrive early.
My flight from Heathrow airport was scheduled to take off at 8:30 am.
I got a hotel near the airport. I had to check in three hours before because it was an International flight. I scheduled the hotel shuttle to pick me up at 5:00 am. I didn’t sleep well.
I am always afraid I will miss the plane.
The alarm blasted at 4:00 a.m. I got dressed and went to the lobby to wait for my ride. I packed my bag the night before. I checked the areas around the room to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind and I felt confident everything was stored in my backpack and carry on lugage. I turned in my keys and waited for the shuttle to arrive. It was a fifteen-minute ride to the airport.
Upon arriving at the airport I unzipped my backpack to retrieve my passport. It wasn’t there. I kept it in a pouch that is thief resistant. That is what the advertisement said. I went into a panic attack. I opened up my suitcase which was locked. I located the key, unlocked the suitcase, and unzipped the entire bag and set it on the floor. There were a few people who looked at me as if I were crazy. I was crazy. What would I do if I couldn’t find my passport? Would I be delayed? How would I prove I was a US citizen? I would have to stay in London until I got a new passport. Maybe they would detain me. Would they put me in jail? My eyes filled with tears.
I took out all of my clothes and laid them on the unoccupied seats. I put my hand in all of the pockets. I unzipped every pocket of the bag. Nothing. I proceeded to pack my bag again. People were staring at me. I wonder what they thought. What is this crazy lady looking for? I zipped up my bag and locked it. What do I do now?
I dumped the contents of my backpack on the seat. I put my hand in every single pocket once again. Nothing. I couldn’t find my passport. I sat down and took and deep breath. I prayed to God and asked Sumio to tell me where it was. I reached over to my bag and gave it one last go over. I stuck my hand in the front pocket and there it was. Why was it there? I never put my passport in that pocket.
I cried. The people around me were relieved. I looked up and smiled. They smiled back. I thanked God and Sumio and went on my way clutching on to my passport never letting it out of my sight again.
The departure schedule with my flight number was not available yet. I rushed towards the gate where it might take off. A young man was sitting there with his cell phone in his hand.
I asked him “Are you catching the flight to Chicago?”
“Do you know the departure gate for the flight?”
“They don’t post until thirty minutes before the departure time. It will be one of these gates.”
My stomach was growling. I hadn’t eaten anything all morning. I located a coffee shop and ordered a coffee and scone. The scone was dry and the coffee was bitter.
There was nothing more to worry about. It was now the pilot’s responsibility to get me to Chicago.
I checked my bag one more time and grabbed on to my passport. I was safe!