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Train To Run. You Never Know When Need To

Posted by George Parker on
<b>Train To Run. You Never Know When Need To</b>

Imagine you are at the airport baggage carousel pickup. You sigh with relief when you grab your last checked bag. To your horror, you hear, “Where’s his bag?” We left my 8-year-old son’s bag on the airplane in the overhead bin.

Atlanta is the world’s busiest airport, and it is expansive. It takes at least 20 minutes to leave the airplane, walk down the terminal, catch the transit train, ride what must be the world’s longest escalator, and arrive at baggage claim. We are a family of four with two little kids, so we arrived at baggage claim 40 minutes after landing.

My son has a miniature luggage bag with a handle and wheels decorated with Captain America. It has mesh netting on the side where he keeps his favorite stuffed monkey. It’s one of those bags that makes you say “Aww” when you see kids walking, pulling the bag behind them. The bag was gone, along with stuffed animals, pajamas, shoes, and his favorite clothes.

Next to us was the Baggage Help Desk.

“I have never heard of this happening before!” the lady behind the desk said.

“Can I go back to the airplane?”

 “Here’s a pass to get you through security. Your plane landed an hour ago and may have left. Run!”

Run. I was not at a 5K starting line, but I had the same nerves. I darted for the security check-in. A crowd packed the security lines –this is the world’s busiest airport. I pleaded with an attendant, and she fast-tracked me through security. I still had halfway to go, and the last half of a race is the hardest.

I arrived at Terminal A and ran for the Gate A6. I was running at my marathon pace – too many people and too much weaving for much faster. Physically, I felt great. Mentally, I was a wreck.

“That's my bag! That’s my son’s bag.” The last passenger had boarded the plane, and the flight attendant was closing the boarding door. He turned around, smiled, and said, “We found it on the plane. I was hoping someone would come back.”

The race was over. The starting line had appeared from nowhere, but I was ready. No medal at the finish line. Only the happy smile of an 8-year-old boy.

Train to run because you never know when you will need to.

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