Once he satisfied himself that I was guilty of nothing more than foolishness, he offered to give me a ride to the North Remote Parking “or you can continue walking.” Now, it was only a block and a half to remote parking....but why would I not take the ride? I had broken a decent sweat and my arms were feeling tight from carrying the carry-on. I was having no fun walking so I accepted the ride. That is when I found out why I might have preferred to have walked the rest of the way.
This officer showed his police training by describing to me exactly what was going to happen before he did anything. It really seems like a tedious exercise, “Sir, please put your bag down behind the car and step back. I am now going to open the trunk of the cruiser from inside the cab. Leave your bag on the ground. Now I am going to put your bag in the trunk....”
Then he informed me that he needed to check me for weapons before he allowed me to enter the cruiser. He asked me if I had any weapons. Then he informed me that he was going to give me a pat-down. Standing beside a busy road headed into the airport, I had to assume the position and get a pat-down. He only showed a slight sign of humor when I stated, about halfway through the pat-down, that this would probably not be the only time I got patted-down that day.
He then took me through the step-by-step instructions on how he was going to open the back door of the cruiser and that I should get in and would be required to put on the seat belt. I guess I should have seen that coming. I was going to be behind the Plexiglas in the backseat like a vagrant or public drunk or something. The pat-down was not pleasant and was a little bit embarrassing....but embarrassment was building.
The seats were very high up and made of some sort of formed plastic like a cheap... I don't know what. I have never seen anything like it. I asked the officer about the seat when he finally got into the front seat (the passenger side was full of all sorts of electronics...so I guess it was nothing against me, there was simply no room for me in the passenger seat up front). He responded (with some humor) that they were not built for comfort but he said nothing more about it.
Now he engaged me in small talk. He asked why I was traveling and what my line of work is...maybe still looking for inconsistencies that might cause me to spend a few hours in a cell being crossed examined, but I took it as a friendly gesture. When we arrived at North Remote Parking, he had to let me out of the back seat where I was met with the curious and appraising scrutiny of the crowd waiting for the shuttle. They were expecting a vagrant or public drunk. A look of slight suspicion lingered on their faces despite the fact that the officer was letting me out of the backseat and pulled my luggage out of the trunk for me. I was being treated with respect....but still....they were wondering.
So what I did learn from this? I think that is pretty obvious....
Humility is an important lesson to learn but not a lesson I want to repeat often.