The postings on this site are my own and do not represent My employer’s positions, strategies, or opinions.
As many of you know, I travel a lot for work. In 2014 I was on approximately 60 flights. During those flights I followed the rules – I put my liquids in a baggie, I took my tissues out of my pockets before being screened, I followed directions provided by security, and the lot. I didn’t overtly buck the system or act like my personal rights were being trampled. I was, in a word, compliant.
But, really, as the year began I started a secret challenge. It actually started by accident. You see, my best friend Tiffany always had lotion with her and I often asked to borrow it. At the beginning of the year she gave me this bottle so that I would stop asking (ha):
I accidentally left this in my backpack for several flights, forgetting it was there. Yes, it was NOT in my baggie as required. And yet, when I found it a few flights later, I realized that not ONE of the screeners had flagged it. Not once. So, then I thought, “Wow, I wonder how far I could go before someone flagged my bag?” And then, as the story goes, is when the challenge officially commenced.
So, month after month, flight after flight, I left the lotion in my backpack and it was not flagged. I still had my baggie, I still removed my tissues, and yet with each flight I asked myself why I even bothered. And by about June it became this huge competition. I started keeping score and internally high fiving myself as if I was actually winning something!
Flash forward to December – I was in Thomasville sharing with my co-workers my 2014 travel challenge, as I had not been flagged once and I knew I was just one flight away from a perfect season. Yes, I said season. And then, superstitious as I am in such situations, I thought for sure I had just jinxed myself by my cocky talk. I knocked on wood, said I should stop talking until my year’s travel was over, and hoped for the best.
So it was with great trepidation that I ventured into the security line at Greensboro Airport. I was relieved to see a real line of people for the first time ever – about 30 people – and that gave me a sense of power. I went into the slow moving line with confidence. Almost arrogance. And then, it happened. My bag sat under that the camera longer than normal. I stood barefoot, waiting, feeling my confidence slowly melt away. And sure enough, the agent grabbed my bag, asked me to follow her, and I knew…..my perfect record was over. I almost slouched, but silently I thought, “Dude, they only caught it once. FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!”. As I stood compliantly, I suddenly saw something that made me extremely relieved – a water bottle, on the side of the bag. DOH! I had put it there that morning and had totally forgotten about it. The agent pulled it out, trashed it, but I was not out of the woods yet. She began opening each section and began inspecting everything inside. This was definitely not good. When she got to pocket with the lotion, which was not very full, I knew I would probably lose that, too. At that moment, she looked at me as if chastising me for breaking the rules………
Sigh. So close Gina, so close…….
And then she handed me my bag.
My bag, in my hand, lotion bottle intact. Water tossed. Followed by a smile and “have a nice day”.
I. Had. Won!
60 flights, and not once did that lotion get screened and pulled. 100% finished rate. It’s like I am famous. Yep, 2014 was a good year! 🙂
Oh, and Tiffany, thanks for the lotion!