Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Courtesy Lives in Spokane Airport

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This may not sound like much, but my two wine-bottle corkscrews arrived in the mail today. The package cost $2.20 to mail.

They were mailed free through the courtesy of the Paradies TravelMart shop in the Spokane International Airport A/B concourse terminal. The incident and followup that led to this displayed a level of caring and courtesy that I figured had long ago slipped over the edge of the earth.

My luggage consisted of my camera case and a carry-on bag. Tossed in with the dirty laundry and souvenirs I was bringing back home were two wine-bottle corkscrews I had purchased from a local winery. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent pulled me aside and said the imaging equipment showed the two openers. They each had a short blade (used to cut away the lead foil that covers the bottle top). That meant I could not take them on the airplane.

Now, comes the good part.

The agent said I could take them back to the terminal lobby to have them mailed to me. He pointed through the glass to the small shops in the lobby. I was weary, wiped-out and wary after having emptied my pockets, doffed my coat and fleece vest, unlaced my shoes and taken them off along with my belt and watch, and had my bag unpacked and re-packed. Then he said I’d have to take all my stuff and leave the security area to get back to the terminal shops and come back through security screening again – and empty my pockets and take off my coat and vest and belt and shoes and watch again.

I told him he could have the corkscrews. But he persisted, pointing out I had plenty of time before my flight. So I took his friendly advice and tromped back out to the terminal lobby. I went into what looked like a small magazine shop about where the TSA agent had pointed and asked the gent behind the cash register if he mailed packages for distressed travelers like me. He said he didn’t. I asked if he had any envelopes I could beg, borrow or buy. He shook his head. I asked if he knew of anyone in the terminal who did mail packages for folks like me. He said no and walked away.

Now, I walked two shops away – a distance no more than 30 feet — to a small kiosk under a TravelMart sign that sold cold drinks and snacks. It didn’t look like a mail drop. I don’t know why I didn’t check with the shop in the middle. But I asked the young woman behind the TravelMart counter if she knew anyone who mailed stuff for conflabbergasted travelers like me. And she said, “Yes, we do.”

(So much for the helpful gent 30 feet away. I guess he just opened his shop and still didn’t know his neighbors.)

The woman at TravelMart slipped a piece of paper and a pen onto the counter and said “Just write down the name and address where we should send it.” As I did so, I asked how much I owed her and she said “Nothing.” I asked, “How come?” She said, “We just do it.” I figured it would come C.O.D.

As I returned through security, I had the opportunity to thank the TSA agent who was kind enough to show me how to save my goodies.

That was last Friday (Oct. 14). The package arrived today (Thursday, Oct. 20).

This kind of assistance is rare and worth every bit of thank you I can muster. Atlanta-based The Paradies Shops  has a presence in more than 60 airports throughout the United States and Canada. I don’t know if every one of them mails airplane-banned stuff home for you but I do know I’ll look for them from now on when I want a drink or snack as I trundle through terminals.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 21, 2011 at 12:05 am

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