Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Travel Lesson

We had an interesting experience yesterday. We had invited my mom to spend the week with us, but rather than driving over to get her, we tried an experiment and had her take the train. That in itself was an ordeal. There’s no train service from her town, so my sister drove her to Sacramento to avoid her having to take a bus and transfer. She got on the train fine, and arrived on this end fine. We were to pick her up in a town about 30 minutes from here, but it took almost an hour in traffic. She didn’t quite know where to get off, and almost missed the stop. We had them page her. Finally she gained her land legs and came tottering off the train. The conductor followed with her bag and brought it to us as we were walking toward her. We got her settled into the car and drove home.

When we got home, she was showing me her new suitcase and commenting on all the pockets she hadn’t seen and wondering why she hadn't filled them. Then she opened the lid – and it wasn’t her bag! It had someone else’s stuff in it! Amazingly, right inside there was a package with a name and address near Sacramento and a San Jose phone number. Very odd. I had no idea if this was the other passenger’s destination, but it was all I had to work on. I called and got a machine. I left a message, explaining that we had this suitcase and wondered if they had ours. Then I called Amtrak and learned that they don’t have a system for dealing with lost luggage…

While I was on the phone, the San Jose party called and sure enough, it was her mom’s suitcase. She was almost beside herself. Her mom’s medications were in the suitcase, and of course, her mom was frantic. They had left Mom’s suitcase at the San Jose train station in the care of the ticket agent named Patricia. The San Jose daughter called and arranged for us to make the trade with Patricia. Hubby and I got in the car with the other suitcase—right at rush hour, of course. We finally got to San Jose, where we retrieved Mom’s suitcase from Patricia and left the other lady’s with her. What a delightful and caring lady Patricia was—kudos to her! We finally got home, having driven five hours during the day—more than a one-way trip to Mom’s!

Interesting story, but so what? Well, we learned something that we had never thought about despite having traveled much of the world. Mom didn’t have a phone number in her luggage—just her name and home address on the luggage tag, which is all we have on ours. A lot of good that did! There was no one home to take a call, even if they had been able to look up a phone number. The other lady, perhaps accidentally, had her daughter’s phone number in plain view, and that was how we were able to make a connection that otherwise would have been impossible.

So, when your parents travel, make sure they have a destination number or cell phone number in their luggage. If the luggage is locked, put it on the tag. If your parent doesn’t have a cell phone, have her put yours in plain view inside. That way if she and her luggage are separated, the finder can locate you. And hubby and I realized that we should do the same when we travel. We’re going to start putting our cell numbers on our luggage—just in case.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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2 comment(s):

I always feel like the phone number gives away too much privacy, but I think the practical benefits outweigh that. Thanks! And I hope the remainder of the visit is uneventful.

By Anonymous Nancy, at 8:04 AM  

Yeah, we always felt that way too. In fact, we hide our address inside of the luggage tag. But even a carry on can be misplaced or forgotten, or like Mom, the wrong one picked up. It seems to make sense to have a contact number someplace where it can be found. How do others deal with this?

By Blogger Pat, at 7:53 PM  

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