2006-03-03 / On Second Thought

A carry-on luggage nightmare

Mary–Alice and her mom and dad are all packed up and ready to go to the airport. They plan to arrive two hours early to allow for airport security.

Mary–Alice is proud of her pink Barbie bag with a picture of Barbie on the side and its pull–out handle just like mom’s and dad’s. Baggage clearance goes fairly quickly.

Now the trio is sitting on the benches near their gate. Dad says, “It’s 6:30. We’ve got time for a quick breakfast before our flight.” Mom and Dad grab their bags, and Mom grabs Mary–Alice’s hand as they head for the food court.

While the family is eating breakfast, they notice some commotion. First two, then four police officers walk rapidly by. Then two men in heavily padded uniforms walk by rolling a large barrel with a strange–looking symbol on it.

“Did everybody bring their luggage?” Dad asks. Mom nods, “Yes.” Then the parents look at little Mary–Alice. Mom says, “Honey, where’s your travel bag?”

“Back there,” says Mary–Alice, pointing in the direction where all the cops are headed.

The family starts out for their departure gate’s waiting area, but they’re stopped by a TSA. “Sorry, ma’am, this area is closed off.”

Mom and Dad can plainly see the object of the officers’ attention — Mary–Alice’s travel bag. “My goodness,” says Mom. “What are they doing with Mary–Alice’s travel bag?”

“Getting ready to blow it up is my guess,” says Dad. “They probably think it’s a bomb.”

Mary–Alice chimes in: “Daddy, don’t let them blow up my Barbie bag.”

“Guess that’s what makes it so suspicious,” says dad, “Barbie looks so innocent.”

Dad calmly approaches one of the TSAs and says the bag belongs to his 10–year–old daughter. After a few minutes things calm down a bit. However, Mom, Dad, little Mary–Alice and all of their luggage are THOROUGHLY re–examined by security police. It takes a while.

After the family is cleared for travel, Dad goes back to the ticket counter and tries to negotiate tickets for the next flight.


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