Lori and I spent much of this past week in southern California at some meetings with about fifteen other leaders within Campus Crusade. Our housing was nice and our meetings took place in a rental property right off the Pacific ocean. We moved forward on important ministry initiatives, had quality time with good friends and ate some tasty food. Although we had a great time during the week, our scheduled departure at the airport didn't go as smoothly.
After returning the rental car, we got on the shuttle to the airport. We eventually arrived at the airport, grabbed our bags that the shuttle driver had insisted on loading onto the shuttle and went to the kiosks inside to check-in for our flights. As I began to check us in, Lori said, "This isn't my bag." What? "This isn't my suitcase! My purse is in my suitcase!" We realized that someone that had gotten off the shuttle before us must have taken our suitcase accidentally. This was not good.
You see, my parents had come down to visit us in Florida and were watching the kids while we were gone. But their flight back to Detroit was leaving the next morning and we had to get back to Florida on our scheduled flight. Without Lori's purse that would be a little difficult.
After a few moments of panic, we planned our strategy and figured out a plan to try to get our suitcase back. We called the rental car company and explained what happened. The suitcase that was in our possession did have a name and address (although no phone number) and we asked the rental company to search for that person's reservation and see if they had a mobile phone number listed. Todd, the helpful Enterprise agent, was able to locate their number but got no answer when he called. He left a message for them with my information. Lori and I took a moment to pray for our attitudes and that we would be able to find our suitcase.
Time was of the essence! If they got on their plane with our suitcase, then we would be S.O.L. -- that's right...straight outta luck :) I suggested we try to page them in the airport and Todd thought that was a great idea. Shortly after locating a courtesy phone to page them, we heard over the loudspeakers, "Lori Crocker, please report to the Southwest security gate." We were on our way.
While hurrying to the other terminal, I received a call from the owner of the suitcase in our possession. "Dude!" he said. "That shuttle driver switched our suitcases!" We figured out what had happened and he shared that he and his wife had already gone through security when they realized that they had our suitcase and not their own. He alerted a security agent who suggested a meeting point outside the entrance to security. We found each other in the mass of people and made the exchange.
We hoofed it back to our terminal and finally went through our security checkpoint. Although we didn't have much time before making our flight, Lori and I were able to make it on the plane and board as scheduled. Thankfully we made it home in time and my parents returned back home as planned. As it turns out, this was just another funny story to tell for this frequent traveler. Fortunately for us it has a happy ending.