Passports are generally important documents. If you don’t have one, you don’t leave the USA. Simple as that. So, when my 7:30 AM flight pulled into the gate at DFW last Thursday, and I didn’t have my passport – I had a BIG problem. No passport. No flight. No Jamaica International Invitational.
Long story short – My passport was set to expire in June, so I sent it off to get it renewed. I paid a pricey expedite fee and was promised a 24-48 hour turn around. That did not happen. So there I was on Wednesday night on the phone with American Airlines trying to change my flight. And changing your flight 24 hours before you leave AIN’T cheap - especially when you don’t have frequent flyer status anymore (but that’s a whole different conversation).
Two days, two airline tickets, one speeding citation, and one road trip to Houston later, I had my passport…but not my original passport. Not the passport that I’ve carried around for the last 10 years – not the passport with my travel stamps and visas from the Olympics and World Championships….nope, I had a BRAND NEW passport. Why? Because SOMEBODY dropped the ball and lost my passport somewhere between Houston and Dallas. Greatness, right? It sounds like pure comedy, but this is a true story.
I arrived in Jamaica the day before the meet and all things considered, I think I performed pretty well. 10.10w isn’t what I was looking for, but I also wasn’t expecting to miss two days of practice, lose my passport at the hands of someone else, get a speeding ticket, and drive to Houston to take care of things myself, or compete with dead travel legs.
Had I made it to Jamaica when I was SUPPOSED to things may have been different – I’m almost sure of it. But I don’t have a do-over on this one. That’s what sucks. Either way you slice it this was probably the worst travel experience of my life…but I’m healthy – that’s number one – and number two, this experience introduced me to some really great people.
Bad times tend to do that. When life sucks, you tend to see the good in people more easily…and I had some really good, selfless folks help me out. So, I owe a big thank you to the Houston staff at the passport office in the Mickey Leland Federal Building. Carlos stayed after work late just to make sure that I was able to complete my application for a new passport, and the woman on the elevator (you know who you are), came into work at 7 a.m. just to make sure that my new passport was processed in time for me to drive back to Dallas and catch my flight to Jamaica. That’s good stuff. Really good stuff.
And what’s better? I just got an email from Carlos. He found my old passport and is putting it in the mail. Thanks, man. Thank you for doing more than you had to. You have no idea. That’s GOOD STUFF.
Now it's time to sleep. Colorful Daegu is on tap tonight