I'm just old enough to remember when traveling by air was a luxurious experience. Today, not so much. I have a special dislike for going through security — half undressed, all of your belongings splayed open for inspection, subject to pat-downs and super-sized X-ray machines.
One early morning a few months ago I was waiting in line for my turn at the conveyer belt when a bulked-up TSA agent with a buzz cut approached. "Oh great," I thought, expecting him to start barking the usual orders about how to make the pass-through easier. Instead, he took his place, looked up and down the lines at us, smiled warmly and, in the friendly tone of a tour bus driver, said something like this:
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Tucson International Airport. My name is Earl Jones. My job is to keep you safe and to make your experience here as pleasant as possible. When you get to the conveyor belt, it will help a lot if you would put all metal objects in the plastic tubs. That includes all computers, cameras, cell phones and waffle irons...."
That got our attention. "Did he just say waffle irons?" strangers in line chuckled to each other.
The agent kept on like that until every one of us was smiling back at him — quite a feat at 5 a.m. And I thought to myself, "God is on the loose."
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers