Saturday, June 30, 2012

Smackdown: Chili's vs. TSA

Place your bets, ladies and gents. Who do you think is more likely to let you accomplish what you're attempting to, but without your ID? The Transportation Safety Administration of these United States, or a restaurant?

Betting is now closed.

I recently flew stand-by, which is a sad tale of woe no one wants to hear. The point is that I did finally, finally, finally, after two asthma attacks and my subsequent frightening of pilots (my grey appearance and completely soaked-in-sweat body, coupled with the wheezing and inhaler apparently isn't the norm around jetways)got on a plane to my layover destination. However, I got on that plane without my wallet. Which had my ID. Of course I did not know that at that time.

I arrive at Houston International, sit down at the Chili's, chosen from a wide variety of options because it serves a damn good margarita, and I'm planning on a nice dinner, beverage, book, relaxation. I have three hours until I hop on the puddle-jumper to The Sticks, a plane that is booked half-full so my odds are good I'm getting on it. In other words, I think that my hellish day is over. I hate it when I'm wrong.

May I see your ID please?” I've spent the day at DIA. I've been to two different bars there (I guess you are getting some of the stand-by story...sheesh, I should have packed my BREVITY card...) and I know full well that it's policy to card EVERYONE. I reach for my wallet. It's not there. I panic, I search; kind man next to me allows me the use of the bar space in front of him to literally dump out my entire purse and laptop bag. No wallet.

Maybe my ID is still somewhere tucked with my boarding passes (I had amassed a collection). Nope. Maybe it's in my roller bag, which I was forced to check at the gate which caused me a mad scramble of re-arranging items. Perhaps during a three hour lay-over, they'd be able to retrieve the bag, probably already sitting at the terminal, waiting to be loaded onto my tiny plane. I have hope.

However, the I-Have-A-Problem-With-My-Luggage Office is downstairs, near, baggage claim. I'm not saying that they've chosen a bad place for said office, it's just that it's OUTSIDE SECURITY WHICH I WOULD THEN HAVE TO GO BACK THROUGH WITHOUT AN ID. I'm not stupid, though by this time I will admit to being completely wiped out from travel, and asthma and my blood-sugar is dropping, so I ask for advice. From the supervisor of the entire TSA team. He says that getting back through security will not be a problem because, “Robert's gonna come with ya' honey, it'll be fine.”

I take this to mean I'll be escorted, and the magic gates opened, and I'll waltz right back through, like an employee. I hate being wrong, did I mention that?

Turns out that pulling the bag would “take a minimum of four hours ma'am” so I head off into the sunset, just looking for a margarita. I'm willing to skip dinner at this point since I only found a ten in my purse. I have priorities.  They are at this point TEQUILA.

An hour later, after being interrogated by the “good” cop and the “bad” cop, a phone call to some mysterious office, where questions to prove my identity were generated, and then my providing the correct answers to these questions, I am through security. Robert (big surprise!) mislead me. No VIP escort.

Back to Chili's. May I see your ID? “I'm sorry, it's our policy to card everyone. I can't serve you anything without an ID.”

Sigh.  I love traveling.  I hate stupid rules.

P.S. Don't worry. The Engineer overnighted me my passport so I'm good to go home tomorrow.  You've been hearing this all week, but I WILL respond to comments on Monday.  Thanks for sticking with me.



Brian Miller said...

haha....stupid have a safe trip home now that you can prove who you may want to go back to chilis and get that drink...smiles.

Andrea said...

Oh my goodness gracious! The TSA guy couldn't just get you a drink with your ten and his ID?

Juli said...

I had to fly standby with Oldest when he was 6 months old. I had no food for him, no bottle, and they wanted me to fly FRICKIN' stand by.

Ah, the joys of traveling. And yet, I'm set to do it again in 3 weeks...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow, I'm impressed... after all that ordeal, you STILL claim to enjoy traveling. You're tough!

JoJo said...

OMG I would have been having a panic stricken meltdown, curled in the fetal position weeping uncontrollably on some corner of the terminal. You handled it well!

loverofwords said...

At least it gave you material for a great blog post :)

mare ball said...

Good grief, what a headache. Traveling is usually a pain, we're kind of stuck w/ it. I think the most surprising thing was Chili's. Ya' just gotta laugh. said...

I drive, unless it involved an ocean. Sounds like I need to stay out of Chili's now! Holly

Jenny said...

OMG! I wish I could send you a sippy cup full of 'rita just for everything you went through.


I think that's why we drive whenever we can!

Jo said...

We've more or less given up flying. Hope your return trip is not so horrendous.

Bex said...

Oh yes! I can relate. I was in the States and my 73 year old father was asked for ID when he ordered a glass of wine - I'm sorry, but what's WRONG with the country??!!
That's why I like living in Greece: rules are pretty relaxed here, in every aspect. Although this is also a negative too.
There's good and bad in every extreme.

Thanks for commenting on my guest post about Greece. Hope to see you here one day.


Nicole said...

Oh my! First and foremost, I hope that you're doing ok with your blood sugar and asthma now. The whole TSA/Chilis/ID ordeal sounds like a case of "this is not the time."

What I mean is, on the days when we don't need certain things because security or restaurant staff are either passive or just plain neglectful of their duties, they just let us on by without a care or worry in the world.

But the times when we really need to get somewhere or are hungry and in need of a good drink after having a long day, the same people who would have probably turned a blind eye on the good days are not suddenly so strict with how they adhere to and enforce rules, policies, etc.

It's pure madness! Get home safely.

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Arlee Bird said...

What a nightmare! Don't even get me started about flying. The airport hassles are part of the reason my wife and I like crossing country via automobile. Besides driving can be such fun and so easy to change plans.

Tossing It Out

Damyanti said...

Never been to the USA-- my husband hates flying there tho, and hates the TSA! :)

Lynn Proctor said...

glad it all worked out--but i bet they don't card everyone--so i would be flattered!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, you poor thing! I thankfully finally look old enough to avoid that, as there is NO WAY I could survive an airport for three hourse with no cocktail.