I recently had the joy of commuting from Colorado to Northern Jersey for a solid year. Good news is, I enjoyed what I was doing, who I was working with and made damn sure I took full advantage of the close proximity to New York City. Bad news is, I had to fly in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport (Newark). If you want a guaranteed bad travel experience, fly in and out of Newark in the winter. The only good thing about this airport is the Smash Burger in Terminal C.
One week this past Spring, I had a hideously stressful week at work so when I got to Newark to head home, I went on complete auto-pilot. I dragged my luggage to the United check-in area, printed my boarding pass, cruised through security without a hitch, and made my way to the gate after a pit-stop at Crumbles for a red velvet cupcake. When I got to the gate I plopped my tired, glassy-eyed self in a chair and looked at my boarding pass to make sure I didn’t get stuck in a middle seat.
At first I thought I was imagining things, but then I looked a little closer and realized I had a boarding pass for a Russian MAN in my hands. Pretty sure I am not Russian or male. I had somehow picked up the wrong boarding pass from United and made it past the top-notch Newark TSA security team. Good thing I followed strict protocol and packed my Burt’s Bees lip balm and my 3 oz hand lotion in a clear plastic bag – god knows those are dangerous objects requiring full disclosure.
Since my good friends at TSA failed to do their job properly and potentially placed others in harm’s way, I felt it was my civic duty to let them know things had gone awry. The supervisor was quite embarrassed and thanked me profusely.
All I could think about was how safe I felt flying the friendly skies that day and how I will never forget one of my most precious moments at Newark.