I really wanted to make that announcement last week. I came this close to doing so, but I figured it might be unprofessional of me and held back. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that in the strip.
On Saturday, all of our first session campers arrived… but I wasn’t there for any of that. Another counselor and I had to drive the Camp Van down to JFK International Airport to pick up three campers who were coming all the way from France.
The drive down was pretty simple: we talked, listened to music, ate meager sandwiches that had been hastily prepared that morning… you know, the good life. Everything was going fine until we actually got to the airport.
The documentation I had stated that there would be three kids with a stewardess coming out of the terminal, and that I would have to sign some paperwork in order to take them up to the camp. After a bit of waiting in the arrivals area, I spotted two camp age kids walking around with a stewardess.
At first, I did not approach them, as I was waiting for a group of three. However, as seconds turned into minutes, I happened on by to see if they were for me. They were.
After signing the papers I asked the accompanying stewardess, “So… where’s the third child?”
The stewardess looked at me incredulously, “What third child?”
Here we go…
Over the next few minutes, I explained that we were supposed to pick up three kids, and showed her the documents as proof. She checked her papers and offered this sobering statement, “I don’t have that child on my list.”
The stewardess said she would head back into the terminal to inquire about our missing camper and, after about ten minutes, a woman wearing Airport Security gear came by, said, “We found your girl,” and walked off before I could ask her any questions.
Questions like, “where is she?”
With no one else around to ask any questions to, we waited, and we waited, and, finally, we waited. It was only after twenty minutes that our waiting party, which, in my humble opinion, had really been heating up, was interrupted by another security guard.
Oh, good, I thought, he must have some information for us.
“You need to leave,” said the guard.
“I can’t just leave,” I said, “I’ve been waiting to pick up one more camper on my list.”
“You have to leave now,” he said, apparently adding “now” made it serious business.
I once agin tried to explain that I couldn’t just up and leave without all the kids I was supposed to pick up, but as I did so, another guard arrived.
“Sir, you can’t be here,” she said, putting her hands on me and giving me a light, but firm, push.
I went into broken record mode, “I can’t just leave the area. I am here to pick up three kids, and at the moment, I only have two-”
“You need to leave now,” she said while giving me another push.
“I can’t leave, you guys lost one of my-”
“Excuse me?!” she said. Apparently I touched a nerve. ”We didn’t lose any of your kids.”
“I’m supposed to pick of three kids, and I only have two.”
“Yeah. Where’s the other one?”
Rather than telling me where my lost camper was, she actually started pushing me out of the terminal. Great service at JFK.
In the end, we were able to find our third camper (sans any help from the airport security staff) and safely got up to camp. I wish this story was a bit funnier for you guys, but I’m still totally blown away that the JFK International Airport security staff was more concerned about clearing an arrival area than they were about notifying a temporary guardian about his missing child.
What the heck…