I was selected to go through the TSA security checkpoint as I left St. Louis for San Francisco. That meant I could leave my belt, shoes and glasses on. I placed my backpack on the conveyor and proceeded through the metal detector.
My first time through the alarm sounded and I was instructed to take off my belt and try again. I placed my belt in a little bowl and walked through the detector again. Beeps went off and I was instructed to take off my glasses and try again. This time I was cleared. But by this time the conveyor coming out of the x-ray machine was backed up from the people waiting behind me.
I found my glasses and belt among the personal items of others along the conveyor. At the very end was my backpack with a suitcase that looked just like mine, except mine is brown and this one was black. I did a quick scan to see if I could find the person who had taken my bag and left theirs. No one in sight. In fact, the area was empty because the man behind me was encountering the same problem I had in getting past the scanner.
I called attention to a TSA agent who brought an assistant over the help. They inspected the suitcase that had been left and checked it thoroughly. There was quite a discussion of someone taking my bag by mistake and leaving their own on the conveyor. They then announced over the loud-speaker in the terminal for the person who had left their bag at security to return to claim it.
A few moments later a young woman approached to claim her bag. She identified the bag and the security agents identified her as the owner. She was asked about taking the wrong bag, but she said no, she had just forgotten to take her bag off the rollers. She was questioned but obviously had no idea about my suitcase.
TSA began to question me about making sure I had gone through that particular line, and what to do next. Now you may have already figured out the problem when reading about what I placed on the conveyor back at the beginning, before the scanner fiasco.
I had a moment of realization. I put one hand on the shoulder of one agent and the other hand on the other agent’s shoulder. I asked if I could buy them a cup of coffee or any drink they preferred, or perhaps a snack of some type. They both responded negatively with a questioning look in their eyes. I offered again saying I would really, really like to do something special for them. They continued to decline and then I thanked them for their attention to my problem and asked for forgiveness as I confessed what I had just remembered – I checked my bag.
We laughed, or they laughed, and said they were just glad to have it settled. I again made my offer and again asked for forgiveness. The offer was declined but forgiveness granted. We talked about the coincidence of someone leaving a bag that looked like mine only a different color and that if the poor woman had not left her bag I would not have thought about mine.
I am grateful that God promises to forgive my sins upon my confession (1 John 1:9). Whether they are intentional or not, whether they involve others or not. But upon any realization, I need to confess.
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