Lost in the Airport: Vacation Cash
Here's a lesson for all of you, because we here in the Travel section really do want everyone to arrive safe and sound at their destinations, and with all of their possessions intact.
That last part is pivotal, as I learned last week on vacation. My wife and I flew to San Francisco with my mom on her first trip to the West Coast (and, for that matter, to a time zone where all the news seems three hours old). Because she lives in Jersey, we split the driving difference and flew out of Philadelphia to Oakland, via Southwest.
The terminal that Southwest uses in Philly is just plain nasty -- crowded, dank and far too few seats. We grabbed three spots near the preboarding section of our gate just as the passengers on the flight before ours started to assemble in the A, B and C lines. Surrounded by the (all too typical) Southwest chaos, we saw a few seats open in a less congested area and sprinted to move.
Somewhere along the way, my wife dropped the little woven bag she was clutching that held a chunk of our vacation money -- but no credit cards, thank goodness. It wasn't a ton of money (we usually ATM and charge along the way), but it would have bought a really nice meal for three in San Francisco, and maybe even dessert.
Time between the loss and our discovery of it: Five minutes, tops. Time it took for the money to disappear forever: Seconds, probably.
Yes, we talked to security, the people sitting around us, the folks at the gate and in the check-in area. Nuthin'. Clearly, somebody saw the bag hit the floor and scooped it up, because we know when and where it went missing. We figure that one of the 1,345 people standing around us at the time scooped it up.
Me? When I see someone drop something in an airport, I grab it and give it back or take it to a gate agent. I wish that had happened in the City of Brotherly Love. But it provided a good lesson to us. Here's what we should have done:
1. Split the cash between us, which would have cut the loss.
2. Carried less cash. Even if ATM fees added up to 10 bucks in California, we'd still be ahead today.
3. Put some ID into the bag, so if a Good Samaritan had found it we could have been paged.
4. Surgically attached the bag to one of our hands, or placed a miniature exploding ink pack into it like they do in banks.
Anyone else ever lose something like this in an airport or elsewhere during their travels? I'm pretty sure it won't ever happen again to me. Until the next time, of course.
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