Yesterday, about 4pm PST, I received a call from a man at Royal Jordanian Airlines in Chicago. He shall remain nameless, as much as I’d like to blast him all over the internet. He called my parents’ house, where I am housesitting while they are away in Jordan/Israel. He asked for them by name and, of course, I responded “I’m sorry, they’re not available right now, may I take a message?” Just like I was trained to do from the age of eight or so. Because of course you can’t say that your parents aren’t home or they weirdos might find out! In my house, if we answered the phone like that it meant they either weren’t home or were using the toilet and neither one was appropriate to tell people on the phone. Or so I was told.
Anyway. No Name told me who he was and where he was from (although I couldn’t understand what the heck he said) and said that he had my mom’s luggage. IN CHICAGO.
Friends, my parents left on Saturday for Jordan. And he had her bag in CHICAGO on MONDAY. That’s not good at all.
When I told No Name that she wasn’t here and she was actually in Israel he was like “oooooohhhhh” and, of course, he put me on hold.
Apparently there were no identifying airline tags on it, so the little bar code thing must have been missing and supposedly he didn’t know where it was supposed to go. He also said that he found no record of a lost baggage claim being made. I found this all a bit suspicious for two reasons. 1) Every time I asked a question he had to put me on hold and find out the answer. And it wasn’t like I was asking questions like What is the value of Pi? 2) My mom would NEVER not put in a baggage claim. She was intending to be gone nearly two weeks. She’s not going to go without most of her clothes (even though I do think she overpacked!). Even if she only packed a bag full of old newspapers, she would still put in a baggage claim simply on principle.
He asked me what I wanted him to do with the bag. At this point I started to panic. I realised that my parents hadn’t left an itinerary. I couldn’t believe it!! I only had a cell phone number for the tour guide person, who is a friend of my parents. I told him to ship the bag back here to me and I would pick it up from the airport. After much fumbling on his part, and of course putting me on hold multiple times, he told me when to expect the bag back here in our town’s airport. He was about to hang up and I was like WAIT!! Can’t I get an ID number or something? He gave me a number, but I knew it wasn’t going to help me. And then I asked for his name and he gave me just his first name and I was like, um, and your last name please?? He spoke so fast I had to ask him three times to repeat himself. And then I asked for his phone number and YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HE SAID!!
He said, “What? Don’t you have caller ID?”
I was honestly speechless. I’m thinking to myself, wait this must be a joke. Surely this isn’t actual customer service. And guess what he did? Of course he put me on hold.
He comes back, gives me the number sans area code so I have to ask him for the area code. He quickly goes through the information and hangs up before I can ask another question and he is forced to put me on hold for the tenth time.
And what’s happening while all this is going on on the phone? This of course.
After I get off the phone with him, I call the cell phone of the tour coordinator and leave a message. I also text her. No response, which isn’t surprising considering it was about 2 am their time. I then call the office that arranged the trip and got the hotel details so I could forward the bag to the correct place.
This morning about 3am I got a text message from them to say yes, they want the bag and forward it ASAP. I text back, asking for instructions on where to send it. Never hear from them. I get on the computer and send an email, hoping that she’s getting email on her Blackberry. No answer.
About an hour later, I got another text and I texted back. Nothing.
Finally this morning I call her again and leave another message. Then I called the hotel where they were staying and left a message on the phone at my parents’ room. I called American Airlines and got instructions about what I needed to do. I called them after calling FedEx and discovering it would cost $500 to ship the bag and it wouldn’t get there until MONDAY.
And a few minutes later I got a call from the tour coordinator. She is able to give me the lost baggage claim number and the name and address of the hotel where it needs to be sent. And I spoke to my mom who is doing fine and managing with only half of her clothes and no makeup
I arranged for someone to watch the two younger kids while they napped and Precious and I drove to the airport, which is about a 20 minute drive. We get to the baggage claim area at the appointed time and watch the bags go round and round. We played a game called Spot The Red Suitcase. Surprisingly it’s a popular colour.
I’m sure you know what’s next. No red bag belonging to my mom. I walk dejectedly over to the American Airlines desk, armed with all these ID numbers, hoping one of them is the magic key to finding my mom’s bag.
I spoke to a marvelous woman named Joyce who was able to track it down. And then she told me the best news I’ve heard in the last 48 hours (because of course what could be this?) She said that the bag was already in Jordan, delivered today. But then I realised - she’s not in Jordan!! Not to worry, Joyce says, just have mom contact Royal Jordanian Air and give a new delivery address and they’ll have it delivered.
What a day. And that’s not all I did, but I just can’t manage any more!