So then…I wince and mutter some expletives, as the sirens wail and the lights flash.
I pull over. Busted for speeding.
Dammit, I’m going to be late for work at the airport.
Yes, I work at the airport – as a security guard.
A skinny, curly-haired 19-year-old girl as a security guard?
Yep, that’s me. (I keep telling them I’d appear more menacing if they let me pack heat – but so far, no go.)
It’s a pretty decent job for a college kid home for the summer — but I don’t make enough coin to cover a hefty speeding ticket.
I rustle around in the glove compartment for the registration. The cop car is parked behind me, no doubt running my plates.
I’m squeaky clean, otherwise I wouldn’t have passed the background check at Burke Security, the firm that provides security guards for our little Louisiana airport.
How little? We have two gates. Only one has an xray machine.
So that means those of us at the non-xray gate have to check the passengers’ carry-on bags BY HAND.
While the passengers are standing there.
This can make for some very uncomfortable moments.
We’re rifling through their personal items, unmentionables, and wish-I-hadn’t-seen-its.
And they’re standing there witnessing this invasion of privacy.
Many times I’ve wanted to cock my head, raise a brow, point to the carry-on and say, “Really? Really?”
The Slim Fast Bar surrounded by a dozen Snickers and Butterfingers.
The business reports interspersed with girlie magazines.
The week’s worth of laundry so filthy, it’s practically writhing.
And don’t get me started on the questionable wardrobe choices. “Oh, honey, you cannot pull off this peach pantsuit.”
In our searches, we haven’t encountered much in the way of weaponry.
But I’m not sure if that’s because our 2-gate airport isn’t much of a terrorist hub – or if it’s because we guards lack the enthusiasm to thoroughly search people’s possessions BY HAND.
If the incendiary devices aren’t in plain view on the top layer of the bag, it’s likely they’re going right through to the plane.
If I so much as SEE someone’s tighty-whities, they’ve got a free pass!
So far this summer, the only things we’ve confiscated from passengers are several bags of weed — and in one case, a harpoon.
Interestingly, there was no other scuba or fishing equipment in the bag. Just normal stuff and a big-ass harpoon. Our seizure of the instrument was met with some objection.
Harpoon Guy: “You don’t understand. (twitchy, with wild eyes) I NEED this harpoon.”
Oh, no, Harpoon Guy – I think we understand perfectly.
The car door slams behind me. The cop is making his way over to my car.
Maybe he’ll let me go when he understands how critical I am to the safety and well-being of America’s aviation industry. I’m saving pilots from surprise harpoon attacks!
I glance in the side view mirror to assess my challenger.
He looks like a good ole boy. A strict no-nonsense Southern cop.
What ploy will work best to weasel out of this ticket?
Shall I feign innocence?
Flirt a bit?
Hmmm. I hop out of the car, to best display my navy blue dacron-polyester Burke Security uniform with the light blue piping.
The cop says sternly, “You know you were speeding, right?”
I say, “Yes, but surely you wouldn’t give a ticket to a fellow officer.”
He squints at my uniform with the sewn-on “badge” showing the Burke Security logo.
And then he laughs.
A but-gusting, holy-hell-this-is-HILARIOUS laugh.
And he cannot STOP laughing. He is practically CHOKING, he is laughing so hard.
“Fellow officer?” he sputters.
“Yes, I mean – as a professional courtesy between law enforcers – ” I say seriously, spreading my hands.
He busts up laughing again.
The sight of this scrawny little girl in a cheap rent-a-cop security uniform trying to procure professional privilege SLAYS him.
Between guffaws, he says, “OK, OK, you got me. I can’t ticket you. Off you go. And slow it down, Officer.” He shakes his head, still chuckling, on his way back to his car.
Hot damn and hallelujah!
I vow to keep a spare uniform in my car for any future cop encounters.
— Darcy Perdu
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P.S. No passengers were harmed in the making of my summer job. We weren’t the most diligent baggage searchers, but none of our flights encountered any difficulty. It was many years ago, before people got all crazy, trying to hide combustibles in their shoes & lotions & potions. If I were a security guard now, I’d strip search everybody. But I’d only work at private jet airports frequented by Ryan Gosling and Thunder from Down Under Dancers.
(Any inventive ways YOU’VE escaped a ticket? Or funny cop encounters? How about an odd summer job or interesting job from your youth?)
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