A Case of Mistaken Identity

A few years ago I splurged and bought myself a new suitcase. At the time I bought it, I thought it was the most brilliant purchase I’d ever made. It’s purple, one of my favorite colors, and also a color I figured would stand out from the typical dark green and black bags we all see swirling around the baggage claim carrier.

In the store I loved the fact that it has four wheels and is as tall as my kitchen table. I thought to myself, “This is going to be awesome! Finally a suitcase that will hold everything I need and will be easy to roll through the airport.” I’m not exactly famous for packing light. 🙂

giant purple suitcase

I continued to think it was brilliant right up until I packed it for it’s maiden voyage and had to figure out a way to get the darn thing down the stairs without killing myself. I managed to slide it down without too much trouble, problem solved and the suitcase’s “brilliant” status had only been slightly tarnished.

Each leg of the trip it became more and more obvious that the purchase was not brilliant at all. I couldn’t get the bag into the trunk by myself, the shuttle bus driver could barely hoist it onto the bus, and it weighed in at just under 50 pounds. If that wasn’t enough, the raised eyebrows and out-loud-laughter from friends and family confirmed that I had actually purchased one of the most ridiculous suitcases on the planet.

The only thing that’s turned out to be good about the bag is that I never have any trouble identifying my suitcase in baggage claim, until recently that is.

The night before my annual trip to Big Sand Lake, I first packed the essentials: walking shoes, ink pens, a drawing tablet, and my hair dryer and then I threw in my clothes. (you can see why I first thought this bag was brilliant, right?)

packing for the lakeAfter 7 hours of travel, including the trip to the airport at 4 a.m., I was more than thrilled when I saw my giant purple bag was the second suitcase off the plane and onto the carousel. I retrieved it and rolled it outside to wait for my parents to pick me up. (I have to admit that the one thing I do still love about the bag is how easy it is to roll around the airport.)

We spent the afternoon in Fargo, and after a leisurely lunch with my aunt and uncle and a short visit with my cousin and his beautiful wife and cute, cute babies we started our 1 hour drive to the lake. About 15 miles into the drive my phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize so of course I didn’t answer it, they left a voicemail.

“Hi Beth, this is the supervisor here from United Airlines calling. We have a big purple bag here at the Fargo airport with your name on it so it looks like you picked up the wrong bag from the baggage claim area this morning when you landed. There’s a passenger here who is missing a bag that matches the same description, so we think you have hers.”

Yikes!

Thirty minutes later I confirmed that there was indeed at least one other person in the world who must have initially thought this suitcase was awesome – they were identical.

We made the swap and I learned that the bag I mistook for mine belonged to a group that was originally traveling through Chicago, but had been re-routed through Minneapolis due to a cancelled flight. Unfortunately for both of us, their giant purple suitcase caught the first flight out of Chicago which put it on the same flight as me. What are the odds of that?

All’s well that ends well. I just hope they’re laughing about it as much as we are.

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4 thoughts on “A Case of Mistaken Identity

  1. This is why we put names on things like suitcases. I always check even though I know the wear and tear on my bags. You really inconvenienced someone when you couldn’t take a extra couple seconds to check. I’d won’t be laughing for sure.

    1. I did feel badly about inconveniencing them. But when it was all said and done, I chose to find the humor in the situation and I hope they did as well. It was a really unusual situation, there was actually no name on either bag – it was the baggage claim id that led the supervisor to make the connection.

  2. All’s well that ends well! I went by bus on a trip once and Greyhound didn’t transfer my suitcase even though I asked and they insisted they did. It wasn’t lost but it was a long drive to go get it when they finally found it. Once I had it back I was happy and now it’s a story to tell. Yep, you had best keep a good sense of humor about you if you are going to travel. Now you need to attach a nice tag to your suitcase with your signature tree and birds design! You won’t have to have your name showing as I am sure no one will have a tag like that on an identical suitcase! I think…hmmmm, lol.

    1. Thanks Timaree! That sounds like it was quite a story as well. Yep, you’re right, a sense of humor is a good thing when traveling. Other wise we’d spend a lot of time being upset. Love the idea of using my art to tag my bag. 🙂

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