I only had moderate expectations for my recent trip to Miami. Sure, I never got around to seeing Verdi
or very much of South Beach, but goddamn was it a good time. Drinking Patron and eating fresh, local seafood poolside at 4pm every afternoon after a round of golf was just divine.
And things seemed to follow suit on the way back as we touched down and deplaned at JFK . Three of our four pieces of checked bagged showed up right away. I helped load up the taxi and asked my wife and spawn to wait while I retrieved the last suitcase - which happened to be my own.
After about 5 minutes I noticed that a bag identical to mine in every way except for numerous tags and markers, had made its way around the conveyor belt about 4 times.
I triple checked to make sure that it wasn't mine. This bag had a lock, 2 tags, a red piece of masking tape around the handle, and an additional marking on the underside. It was definitely not mine.
Ugh, wait a second.
It occurred to me then that someone, in haste, grabbed my bag by mistake, leaving his own behind.
How this person failed to notice that the bag he took HAD NO LOCK, TAGS, OR OTHER PERSONAL MARKINGS on it was beyond me. But at that point it was too late. He was long gone.
I went out to the cab and told my wife to leave without me, as I had to report the incident to the American Airlines lost baggage department; and God knows how long that was going to take. I could probably fill two posts about lost baggage departments, but for now I'll say simply that tired luggage-less travelers + overworked customer service employees = bad news
It is a continuous miracle that people are not fucking killing each other in there. I kid you not when I say that I saw, in the course of 5 minutes, the following,
1. An 80-year-old man with a thick Hungarian accent shouting repeatedly , "Vat are you people doing? Vat is going on here?! I can't believe you do this to sick old man!"
2. A demure, pregnant, Dominican-American woman sitting on the floor, quietly weeping into her hands.
Baggage claim pathos. Who knew. Thankfully, I am neither pregnant nor Hungarian, so things weren't so bad, all things considered.
Still, believe or not, it took two days for this clown to figure out he had the wrong bag. TWO FUCKING DAYS! Who doesn't open their luggage for two days? The bag finally found its way from Albany to Chicago and then to NYC. It was delivered to my door 4 days after the start of the brouhaha.
The point of the story? I think the moral here is to pay attention and not take other people's luggage - accident or otherwise. Actually, scratch that. The moral of this story is not to take my
luggage. Do whatever you want with everyone else's.
Caveat: leave the old, Hungarian guy alone. I think he's gone through enough already.