With the uproar about the new airport screening procedures in the news, I’m sure we remember our own horror stories about waiting in line for three hours, having to throw away a specialty jar of peanut butter, or getting a pat-down in front of your grandmother.
But on a funny note, I am also reminded of one experience my family had when flying to Florida 20-some years ago.
We were on our way to metro Orlando, where my aunt lived at the time, to visit Disney, Epcot and other attractions. I was 9 and my sister was 5, so naturally we were beyond thrilled to finally see Mickey, Minnie and the gang.
Neither of us were girly-girls; I was content to run around outside every day barefoot, and my sister had an impressive collection of LEGO, action figures and toy cars by then. She decided she couldn’t fly all the way to Florida without some of her beloved cars, so she brought a few of them with her in a small purse.
Although this was long before Sept. 11, 2001, we still had to put our carry-ons through a metal detector, and, as luck would have it, those metal toy cars looked like something suspicious on screen. She got pulled aside and her purse was searched. She took it as an opportunity to explain to the agent all the cool features of her cars — this one has doors that open, see? My mother, naturally, was horrified that the agent thought her 5-year-old was being used as a mule.
But my sister and her toy cars made it through security and on to Florida, where we proceeded to have the time of our young lives. I don’t remember if my mother let her bring the cars back with her on the return flight. And now, we have a story to laugh about, years later.
So if you’re traveling for business or pleasure this Thanksgiving weekend, remember to leave some extra time and bring some extra patience. But leave the toy cars at home.