A year ago, I had just turned 23.
It was a day like any other: I had a job, an apartment, a dog, and a few friends.
But that day in December, it was different.
On my way home from work, I was stopped by a security guard who asked me if I was on an airline.
I told him no, but he told me to walk through the gate and go through the metal detector.
I was told to wait.
“You’ve got a little luggage in here,” he told the officer.
“I’ll go get it.”
A few minutes later, I got to the front of the line.
I asked to speak to someone, but no one answered.
I was finally able to speak, but it wasn’t until I sat down at the security line that I noticed the guard had stopped.
“You’ve come to the wrong airport,” he said.
“Go to the other one.”
As the guard walked away, I looked down to see that the metal detectors were all gone.
My bag was still there, my dog was still sitting on the curb, and the man who stopped me was gone.
I sat there in silence, confused.
I knew the man, I knew him, and yet the guard just had no idea what to do.
He said I could go through metal detectors at the gate.
I said, “Okay, I’ll go through it.”
The next day, I walked through the security lines and was finally allowed to speak with a human.
When the guard asked for my name and my passport number, I gave them mine.
“That’s it, you’re in,” he whispered.
I took my bags and went through the screening line.
A few weeks later, when I got on a plane to New York, the security officer who stopped my dog, asked me to get a photo with him.
The photo was taken at the airport.
The man who asked for a photo said, with a grin, “See, that was easy.”