The Suitcase

This turquoise suitcase came from a TJ Maxx in Salt Lake City a few years ago. As usual, I had overdone it on the souvenirs and needed something bigger to haul everything home on the return trip.

The personal item I had carried out was quite small and I found this little number was the exact maximum dimensions for my airline’s personal item allowance.

I settled on this one because it’s roomy and a different color. It would be easy to recognize in a sea of black luggage.

No one would have a suitcase like this one, right?


So I toted it back to the hotel, packed up my stuff, and happily attached this fun luggage tag to my new bag.

At the airport the next morning, I waited patiently for my bag to come down the security conveyor belt.

The first thing I noticed as I pulled it off the belt was that my cute tag had somehow come off.

The next thing I noticed was a young woman screaming at me in broken English and Spanish to let go of her grandmother’s bag.

Yes, friends. Out of all the airports in all the world, the people in line next to me had the same suitcase.

I was still clutching the bag, protecting my possessions from this screaming lunatic when I saw my bag roll by on the belt.

And yes, the tag was intact.

I swear it all happened in slow motion.

Of course, I was mortified as I let go of the stranger’s suitcase and held up my own for the other family to see. I wasn’t a thief, I said, babbling about TJ Maxx and the pretty turquoise. We just had identical suitcases!

They were not at all impressed, edging away from me to put on their shoes, still shooting dirty looks at the weirdo who tried to abscond with grandma’s worldly possessions.

I laugh about it now.

Never again will I ever enter a TSA line without this memory flaring up and causing me to study the luggage of those around me.