Of all the pieces of travel advice that I’ve learnt over the years this is perhaps the most important one. Don’t lip off to security, most of them are just doing their job.
This spring I found myself in the departure queue at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica waiting to board a flight back to Canada via the states. Glancing around I noticed that I was to share the flight with a group of American college students. You’d think that being enrolled in a school of higher learning that some of them would have caught on by now. I’m writing about “Common Sense”. It’s cannot be taught at school and for some it must learnt the hard way. Now I’ve noticed over the years that students and the “establishment” quite often don’t mix. This is one such story. These kids, old enough to know better, were fed up having to wait in line – What is taking so long? Dump my water before boarding? Not, I’m not going to empty my backpack again. And so on and so on.
A wizened traveler, I listened and grinned. This was going to be good. Latin countries I’ve discovered usually run on a more relaxed pace and showing respect is only courteous. Well two classmates, a guy and a girl, decided that enough was enough and that they’d show those security guys a thing or two. We’re Americans and we don’t tolerate this kind crap was their attitude. Well it didn’t take long. To give the Costa Rican security team credit, they listened to the gibberish spewing forth for about a minute, smiled and ignored them. The kids seeing no results raised their voices (big mistake). Out came the portable radios. Before anyone could blink these two kids were surrounded and stiff armed to the side of the queue and promptly strip searched right there against the wall in front of us all and none too gently at that. Off came the shirts, belts, jeans, socks, backpacks were emptied and water bottles dumped. Faces beet red, the two were left there to stand in their boxers, panties and bra while their passports were slowly scrutinized. The girl by the way was wearing a cute pink bra. In shock the rest of their classmates reformed ranks straight as an arrow and there was dead silence from them until final boarding. It was a pleasant boarding experience for me, no noisome kids mouthing off, just respect now oozing profusely from all of them.
Lesson learned, the hard way!
Signed, Canadian Traveler