Monday, September 17, 2007

Making a withdrawal from the karma bank

My Breakfast of Dignity ran long, and right after my fellow omeletteers and I started our leisurely stroll toward the gate, we noticed the "Final Call" message on the departures board and called an audible to the "sprint for your life" play that is a staple of any traveler's playbook. I pulled up to the gate, passport and boarding pass in hand, determined that if I had to be the last person on the plane, I was at least going to look prepared for that one little moment in time.

I handed my documents to the gate attendant, who asked, "Do you have your return ticket?" I was caught off-guard by this question. In the dozens of times I've boarded a plane, that has never been part of the script. I adapted. Actually, I BS'd.

"Uhh, I think I just handed it to you?" Clearly false.

"Actually, you dropped it," revealed the saucy minx in the Malaysia Airlines uniform. "Somebody found it and brought it to the gate."

I thought about the prices I had seen for last-minute tickets on Malaysia Airlines between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, on the order of HKD $20,000 (about US $2,500). I contemplated my lovely little $400 plane-and-hotel package for Malaysia ballooning to $3,000 in one fell swoop, the horrified pallor that would have swept across my face when I realized that my ticket was gone, probably not until I was back in the Kuala Lumpur airport three days later. But here was my ticket, safe in hand. Crisis averted.

The ticket had my name on it and was for a return flight from Kuala Lumpur, so it's not like it would have been worth much to someone else. But still, that's a serious karmic boon that somebody went out of their way to turn it in to the appropriate gate and everything. Next Buddhist monk I see gets US $10.

No comments: