Kristie, a small town wife with a marginal accent from her native Arkansas, had planned on celebrating her and her husband’s 25th anniversary in Jamaica. The two of them needed a vacation away from the children and Montego Bay was the place. They walked the serene gardens, swam in the Caribbean sea and tempted themselves with a thrill ride on a Jamaican bobsled. All was going better than planned until they got to the airport for their return flight home.
“Sir, Do you own a rifle?” asked the airline security.
“No, I have a shot gun at home,” he replied.
The security staff then reached into the shoulder bag that had just passed through the metal detector and pulled out a cylindrical rimmed cartridge. To the trained eye it was obvious that the round was for recreational or sport hunting… but that didn’t matter.
Kristie’s husband, once a U.S. Marine, used the bag last during a target shooting trip in the dessert a few months ago. One small, light-weight, relatively insignificant piece of ammunition must have been lodged in the corner of the bag and it went unnoticed. After all, the bag made it all the way to Jamaica without triggering any suspicion.
The Jamaican security pulled him out of the line explaining the gravity of the situation. This was serious. Ignorance is not bliss and in this case his apologies and pleas were met with a humiliating walk to jail. He would miss his flight and a hefty fine would be imposed. United Airlines offered little in the way of details but Kristie was told to board the flight home (without her husband) and contact a lawyer and the U.S. Embassy as soon as she was stateside.
This lamentable story was repeated to me while aboard a red-eye to Las Vegas with Kristie sitting right behind me. And, I thought spilling a full can of soda and ice on my crouch while wedged between two sleeping strangers was intense. Instead of getting hysterical or emotional, our female heroine remained calm and welcomes any advice and guidance. Understandably, she agonizes over the long-term consequences of ever traveling again once this matter is resolved, of which, she is certain it will be.
In the meantime, I posted this blog in hopes that should anyone reading it with a better understanding of these sticky situations might reply. Let’s hope somebody does.