Or: Some of those rare and amusing moments that occurred during my three months with Delta Airlines and ICTS Security.
Interviewing 210 passengers a day can get a bit monotonous. The same questions repeated ad nauseam and pretty much the same responses to those questions can add up to a dreary working day but once in a while the unusual and amusing raised their ugly heads and brought a little cheer.
I had a lady from the USA before me.
What items do you have in your baggage that could resemble, or be used as, weapons? I asked. She wavered.
I bought some antiques in Sweden.
Yes, this old syringe and some other things.
I looked at the syringe. It was a cast alloy single object with a long pointed nose.
You might want to pack that in your check in luggage, I said. Anything else?
Yes. I have this knife.
Yes. It’s an antique hunting knife..
I looked at it in amazement. It was beautiful. Silver pommel, silver rings, horn handle and in lovely condition.
Madame, I said, You won’t get that through security. Pack it away before they arrest you and confiscate it.
But it’s an antique…
Oh. So it only kills old people..?
A slip of a lad.
A little old lady presents her passport. I put it through the computer swipe thingy and all her details pinged up on the screen. No problems. I looked a bit closer and discovered her year of birth was 1923. I thought, I’ll make her day.
Madame, I said, this passport appears to be forged.
Pardon? she said.
Yes. It says you were born in 1923. I find that hard to believe.
She blushed, smiled and said, Thank you young man but it’s true. I’m 89 years young.
(Young man? I’m pushing 60. Who made whose day?)
A similar little elderly lady stood before me, all smiles and obviously in a good mood.
Are you traveling alone Madame?
No. I’m with a group.
The Spice Girls?
Tee hee.. no. Another group. A different kind of group. We’re the global grannies.
How big is that group?
40. We’ve been on the cruise.
Well well. The Global grannies? Suits me fine. I said and pointed to my rotund middle regions. As you can see, I’m a global grandpa.
Hoots of laughter from all of the grannies. We had to split them up into smaller groups of four to ease processing. They were wonderful and great fun to interview. You can Google them. They are from Billings, Minnesota and they made our day.
The queue was getting very long at the “assist” line. Have you all tried the electronic check in system? I asked. Six people replied in chorus, It doesn’t work.
I caught sight of a priest about six or seven places back in the queue.
Padre, it would appear we need your help….
Even he laughed.
Manners maketh man.
A woman doing battle with huge suitcases at the check in counter caught my eye. I offered to help.
Leave me alone, I can do it myself. she snapped.
Excuse me Madame, I said. Where I come from we call it good manners, politeness and proper behaviour to offer assistance. Please accept my apologies. I shall not trouble you again.
I walked off.
Five minutes later I was tapped on the shoulder. It was her.
I owe you an apology. She said. You are right. You were being polite and your behaviour was impeccable. I was rude and ill mannered. I’m sorry.
That’s alright Madame. Think no more of it and have a pleasant flight home.
Thank you. She said.
Then she hugged me.
More than she bargained for.
A simple question to a middle aged lady. What battery operated or electrical devices do you have in your baggage?
I have a phone, a camera and this.
She produced a huge erotic toy from her hand luggage. It looked evil. Big, with a knobbly top and knobbly rings on the shaft of the thing. If R2D2 should ever have a penis, this is what it would look like.
She pointed it threateningly at me and waved it under my nose.
Do you know what these cost in the States?
I’m sure I have no idea Madame but…
Twice what I paid for it here. A bargain.
In her enthusiasm she somehow switched the bloody thing on. It buzzed like an angry bee in a jam jar, the top started bobbing about and the knobbly rings began rotating each in their own direction.
Madame please, I’m glad your shopping trip was a success but please put it away. You’re frightening the children.
I can’t seem to switch it off…
The slip of the tongue.
I was confronted by an extremely good looking young lady in a low cut summer blouse that barely covered a pair of the finest breasts that it has ever been my pleasure to clap eyes on.
I asked to see her ticket information. I couldn’t see how the ticket was booked or paid for.
Please tell me, where did you boob… er.. sorry.. where did you book your ticket?
While guarding the door of the aircraft, I overheard a pretty stewardess talking to her colleague.
I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have done something else. You know, settle down, get married, have babies..
(I couldn’t resist it..)
I can help with the last bit…!