When I was walking from the employee parking lot to the terminal today, I said a prayer, asked to have an opportunity to help one person today. (I think this was from one general conference talk.)
I wanted work to be happy and meaningful. I wanted to feel my worth – it’s what I lack of recently. I wanted to help someone.
A passenger in his seventies (or eighties?) came to the counter, ready to check-in.
“May I see your ID?”
“Wait… Erh! I forgot!” He shouted.
It seems like it’s impossible to forget your ID when you travel, but I have seen it happened more than once! If you don’t have your passport/ driver’s license, (most) airlines require you to present two forms of other IDs (International travel is another case).
“Do you have any forms of ID? Like a social security, blah blah blah…?”
“No… I don’t have anything. And it’s an hour away.” He said nervously. He didn’t speak English really well.
My coworker, my boss and I were like, “?!?!…”
err… It happens.
Time for some travel tips!
Did you know? Even if you completely forgot your ID at home/ lost your ID, you may still be able to travel. TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has a system to confirm your identity! You just need to provide your name and address. See this link: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification
Tada! I was just quizzed by TSA the other day regarding this situation! We learned about this, so we just sent the passenger up to TSA with his boarding pass.
Ten minutes later, a sheriff came and asked if I spoke Chinese, TSA needed my help with the passenger. Huh?!? Who would need my help?! I thought the passenger spoke Vietnamese. (By his last name… I googled it before I came out to the lobby… I even learned how to say “hello” in Vietnamese from a YouTube video.) Did they know Vietnamese and Chinese are different…?
Well, it turned out the passenger did speak Chinese. And he spoke Cantonese!!! (He also spoke Lao, Thai and Khmer.) Wow! He just didn’t understand English that well. (Probably he was confused.) He needed an interpreter’s help to fill out a form for the TSA to confirm his identity. All he needed was to fill our his name and address.
But he didn’t know his address.
(Cantonese) “I am too old… Also I don’t need to write my address that often…”
“… … Do you have the address in your bag? Your prescription…? Call your family…?”
TSA asked what he was doing. I told him the passenger forgot his address. TSA was so shocked, “How can he forget his address?!!? Can you check his bag??”
I looked at the passenger, thought about my own grandpa. My grandpa had dementia in his final stage of life. He would forget everything that had just happened. Also, he had been found in a park without knowing how to get home. I was so small when he passed away, so I don’t have much of a concrete memory of him. But today, I felt like I was just watching my grandpa travel in a foreign country. So worrying.
Finally, TSA asked him to go back to grab his ID because they didn’t think letting a person who didn’t even know his own address fly was a good idea. I rebooked him for a later flight, and he went to grab his ID.
Later when he came back, he told me he was a Cambodian Chinese who fled to the U.S. during the time of Khmer Rouge.
“They killed a lot of people. Every day I am glad that I am still alive. Thank you so much today! You are a great help.” He smiled.
My prayer was answered.