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January 1999 Vol. 14, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Thinking on Your Feet

from the January, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Anyone who does much traveling knows that eventually they will get themselves into hot water. It’s inevitable. But getting through it requires creativity, patience, and a bit of good luck.

Subscriber Beverly Turnover of Chicago demonstrated all three on what is just about the worst trip kick-off we’ve ever heard of.

“Standing in the American Airlines check-in line in Miami on my way to Grand Turk, it dawned on me that my passport and birth certificate were tucked away in my sock drawer in Chicago. Driver’s license, c-card, and visa in hand — and a snowball’s chance in hell — I hoped that maybe the reservation clerk would let me board.

‘Absolutely not; no way; next!’ Frantic, I ran to the phone bank to call a Chicago friend to see if he could send my passport, even though my keys were still at Miami Beach. Then I returned to bug the agents. But, wait? I left my wallet full of cash by the phone.

Unbelievably, it’s turned in immediately, unmolested.

The old Bronx charm (my reluctance to leave) finally works magic on the AA Caribbean Manager, who called the Senior Immigration Officer in Provo, and got a verbal ‘special permission’ to accept an affidavit. (The airport notary public signs my sworn statement that I am USA-born — what a joke!)

I grabbed a cab to get my house keys in Miami Beach, then looked for — and found — a FedEx truck to send the keys to my friend so he could get my passport. I then grabbed a cab back to the airport, where I caught the last flight to Provo. (American didn’t charge me a dime for the flight change or the phone calls to Chicago and Provo.)

And then in Provo, another surprise: the Immigration Officer had gone home, leaving no word with anyone of my ‘special permission.’ ‘He would never grant that; impossible; you go with him and sit in that room. Next!’

The Customs guy finally lets me go, but my flight on Turks and Caicos Airways — their last — is canceled. What? Sky King Airline is looking for a missing passenger. I volunteer to take the seat, their last one; anxious to get off the ground, they usher me on.

All the anxiety only started melting away as we touched down on Grand Turk. Two rum punches at the Turks Head Inn bar finished the job.”

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