At the beginning and the ending
Tuesday November 29th 2022, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Walking in airports with all their movement and visual overstimulation is a seizure getting ready to pounce–I can do them sitting, it’s the long walk in that environment that overloads.

So, as usual, I was doing the wheelchair thing. SeaTac is a big airport and I was just as happy to have my carryon tucked under the seat and give my back a break, too. Big plus: those guys know their way around the place, which seems permanently under construction, and we sure don’t.┬áThe chair pusher who stepped forward said a few last words with three others standing waiting and I got the impression it hadn’t been the best day for him but he waved it away with yeah, it’s okay, it’s okay.

And off we went.

There was a bit of a scrum as what seemed like our entire planeload tried to all get on the same bus at once to take us to the car rental building, and my balance skittered like water flicked into a hot pan of oil–both Richard and the chair pusher urged me to get ON when some instinct told me to turn around to make sure they… But the chair guy was afraid I would fall and was focused on making sure I was okay.

We were the last ones off the bus because Richard was still looking for my rollaboard. You know, the one with the hats I’d knitted, my extra yarn and needles, and the cashmere sweater jacket I’d bought twins of so that I could match my mom when Soft Surroundings had a super-duper-duper sale (2 cashmeres/$50 for a few hours.)

It was gone.

The bus driver, bless him, parked right there and spent an hour on the phone with Southwest and airport people trying to track it down for us. Turns out Southwest has contracts with multiple wheelchair pusher companies and they didn’t know which one it was.

Whoever he was, that driver was a saint and a rescuer and I am profoundly grateful. But no luck.

I’d taken it onboard specifically so I’d have it with me and not risk losing it. Oh, and did I mention where I’d packed my ileostomy supplies? You cannot just walk into a drug store and buy that type of bag. At all. It’s a three-part system that you change every third day and the bag part is for a single day.

Richard said, But you always keep one in your purse against emergencies, right?

(Dude, I haven’t done that since I downsized to a smaller purse two years ago. Didn’t even think of it or I would have.)

I had nothing. Nothing but the acute awareness that a badly manufactured batch had, since October, left me with eight failures in eighteen days after years without problems.

We finally and profusely thanked the bus driver (did I mention it was 39F and we were freezing?) and sent him on his way. Were we going to go back to the terminal with our rental car to try to see if it was in lost and found yet? We were not, because we already knew that as far as the driver could tell it was not, and it was already past the time our kids (much less the grandkids) go to bed at that point and we had a goodly drive ahead of us.

Our younger two kids flew in the next afternoon, apprised of the situation. Michelle offered to dash last minute to our house two cities away in the wrong direction to grab more supplies, but first I called Southwest and they referred me over to Lost and Found.

I described everything in my small suitcase that had no name tag because we hadn’t thought it would need it and they sounded like they were waiting, waiting for it–and pounced when I said, And ileostomy/colostomy bags. That was IT! Yes! They had it! We could come and pick it up anytime!

I gave them our daughter’s name. Our son got there before she did even though her flight was supposed to land first but whatever, and as soon as he walked in there with the right name and the right info about the contents and the situation and the sister’s name and my phone number that all matched, they handed it right over.

And everything was right there inside it as it should be. Even the single-serving beef jerky airport snacks.


Last night, a week later, we were again flying at night, y’know, the cheap, direct-flight seats. We showed up at the Southwest counter and Richard asked for a wheelchair for his wife, as it says on my ticket.

This time there was just the one wheelchair pusher nearby–and it was our guy again! The immigrant from Africa with the scars on his face that made you want to ask oh goodness what did they do to you before you managed to escape from–? But who would ever want to make him feel like that part’s all that people see.

Because what I saw was a good and honest man. I got to see him instantly taking in the fact that not only was it us, we had the rollaboard! We’d gotten it back, after all his worries, he’d succeeded! He was so, so happy, and I thought, by the grace of G_d for both of us, you got to see that we came out okay and we got to see how much that meant to you. What a treasure to have met.

He about danced and the cheerful smile on his face as we went back across SeaTac going the other way this time was something I will never forget.

4 Comments so far
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What???!!! You no longer have the leather bag with the imprinted knit stitch pattern???!!! OMGoodness!!!

It all worked out and you have a beautiful memory of a sweet person rejoicing with you over your good fortune. Love it!

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 11.30.22 @ 7:33 am

I love happy endings. And you, of course!

Comment by Lynn 11.30.22 @ 7:49 am

Oh, I’m so glad they found the bag, and got it to you! (A good reminder to me to put ID and contact info even on carry-ons, whew.) And then that the same person got to see that it turned out all right! That’s wonderful all around.

Comment by ccr in MA 11.30.22 @ 7:50 am

Wow, that is fantastic – miraculous all around! I thought it was going to be an “I gave him a hat” story but I like this one better. And yes to making sure even carry-on luggage is labeled.

Comment by Margo 11.30.22 @ 10:01 pm

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