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Lost Luggage, Found Faith: How a Travel Mishap Taught Me to Trust the Universe.

It was last November, during Thanksgiving week, specifically on the 19th which was my daughter’s 2nd birthday, we were all packed up and ready to go on our first proper vacation since the pandemic and giving birth and it was also the first vacation we were taking as a blended family which includes, as I said, my baby, my partner (boyfriend, concubine, lover, baby-daddy, a.k.a Isaac) his 2 children and myself.

We went on a cruise to the Caribbean and I had a mix of emotions stirring up inside of me, from excitement to nerves, hoping that everything would go smoothly and we would all have a great time.

Being a step mom has not been the easiest ride for me (nor for everyone involved) so it was really important that this vacation would be a way for us to connect, have fun, live, laugh and just enjoy the present moment.

Isaac and I have very different parenting styles and very different personalities. I am very organized; I like to plan and I like punctuality. He is very flexible on all those 3 things. And these differences sometimes cause friction between us.

Despite a few bumps on the road, we all hade a great time on the cruise. We arrived back to Ft Lauderdale on a Sunday morning and we were going to take a flight from Miami airport that night, so we decide to rent a car at Ft Lauderdale airport, spend the day in Miami and drive ourselves to Miami airport.

The car was in my name so I left Isaac with the kids and the luggage in the parking lot to go bring the car around. I was focusing on the installing the car seat and making sure my baby was safely buckled up (I always do this), while everyone else was loading the trunk. Divide and conquer, right?

The day was a success. We went to Brickell to walk around, we had lobster tacos, we shopped and we got to the airport with about 3 hours, just as I like it (and as I learned from my overly punctual father), so we had enough time to relax walk around, eat, be among the first to board the plane (yes, I am that type of person) and come home.

As I was driving into the car rental place to give it back, I was thinking it’s a good idea to change into my flying clothes (warm sweat pants and hoodie) before going into the freezing air conditioning airport, and more importantly, change my daughter too. So I got out of the car, skipped my way to the trunk like a happy 8 year old and looking for my carry on, the only carry on we packed, I realize it is not there!

“Whaaaaaat?” I started freaking out, I could feel all of my blood rushing though my body all the way up to my brain, “I´ll kill you” it’s all that was on my mind, “I don’t know who, but I’ll kill you”. And then, in a matter of nanoseconds, I understood that killing wasn’t bringing my luggage back. So instead of letting my brain be highjacked by my emotions, I take a deep breath and I think. “Where is it?” “Where did we leave it?” And just like that an image appeared on my mind and I could see my bag there, standing all alone in Ft Lauderdale airport, right outside the car rental office. So in that moment I know what to do. I need to contact the sweet guy Jose, from Puerto Rico, who kindly helped me rent the car.

I ran as fast as I could to the same car rental place in the Miami airport and ask them to please help me contact their office in Ft. Lauderdale. “I’m sorry ma’am we don’t have direct numbers but you can call our 800 number and create a report for the lost bag”. “No, no, no, almost crying I say to Daniel, who’s comfortably sitting on his high chair, seemingly bored to death from his job, please help me!, Help me reach Jose, he was super kind and sweet and I am sure he knows something”. I convinced him somehow, probably due to my desperation and absolutely no fear to cry and make a scene (politely, I do have to say), to use his internal chat to track down Jose. And we did! Jose immediately described my bag and just as I am about to sigh with relief that he has it, he says airport security took it because it was on the sidewalk of the parking lot, and not in their office.

I got all tense again but now I know, security airport took it, so where is it? We are at T-2:45 hours for departure and I am trying to contemplate my options. Should I go get it? Should I forget it? Should I ask someone (I don’t know who) to help me retrieve it someday later? NO! I want my bag. What I have ion there is worth more than my ticket and I want it.

It is decided, we are going to go get the bag. But who, Isaac or me? I looked at him and instantly knew, this is a task that only I can do. So, I hand him the baby, the diaper bag, I make sure I have my passport, my ticket, and my backpack just in case I end up losing my flight.

I kissed everyone goodbye and ran to street. I am confused and don’t know what to do and suddenly, like ants marching in on a dead beetle, three taxi drivers come close, and with a Jamaican accent they ask “Where are you trying to go?”“To Ft. Lauderdale and back in less than 2 hours, can you do it?” His face lights up, he knows this is a great money maker, “yes of course, $90 dollars each way”. I hesitate. The second one comes up and asks, “how much did he say?”, “$90 dollars” I reply. “I’ll take you for $60 each way”. Meanwhile I am checking my uber app, “Uber says $50”, “so take an Uber”, he replies. I think for about another 10 seconds and without hesitation I jump in the car with the guy who offered to take me for 60.

“We are on a mission and you are the hero” I tell him “I need to get to Ft. Lauderdale airport, find out where security could’ve taken my bag and come back with my bag to make my flight”. He looked worried but he sped it up.

I’d rather lose my flight than lose my bag, I thought as we were entering the freeway, but wait, I don’t have to lose either one, I CAN DO IT. The universe has my back. Everything works out for me. I can do this.

45 minutes and about 10,000 repeats of “The universe has my back” later we get to the first airport. “Where do we go now?” He asks. “I have no idea”. So he slows down, rolls down the window and asks someone who looked like he worked there about lost luggage. “Call this number”, showing us his badge. I open my bag to take my phone out and I see it, but I see something else too, Isaac’s phone. “Whaaaaat?” “Why do I have his phone?” “How am I going to communicate with him now?” “Forget it, who cares about that now”, I reach for my phone to dial that number and I noticed I have 5% battery. I dial the number and the call won’t go through, damn roaming!

Jamal, that’s the taxi driver, he takes out his phone and starts dialing. “Can he be any cooler than that?” I think. “The universe definitely has my back” I think again. Someone answers, they say the lost and found office is in the terminal where the car rental places are. We drive there.

I pay for the first ride and kindly ask him to wait for me, hoping he would. I sprint as fast as I can and as I am getting closer, I see the door is locked, the lights are out and the blinds are shut. “Nooooooo”, I am about to cry, desperately looking for someone to help me and suddenly the people form Avis, who are witnessing all of this first row, point to a sign next to the door and tell me to call that number.

I reach again for my phone, 4% battery, I call the number and no one answers, I call again and no one answers, 3% battery, I call again and thank the Universe someone answers. I explain the situation and they say someone’s coming. I wait, the 10 longest minutes of my life. There he comes, a tall dark guy with the build of The Rock, and I say to him, please be my second hero of today. He opens the door, turns on the lights and shuts the door in my face. A few minutes later he comes out, he’s so big I can’t see behind him and suddenly he pulls out from behind by beautiful, black, shiny, Jessica Simpson carry on bag.

I sigh in relief again. First mission is complete. Now I have to make my flight. I sprint again to where Jamal agreed to wait for me praying he’s still there. And he is. I jump into the car looking all happy and ask him to take me back to Miami.

And again, after 40 minutes of taxi racing, another 10,000 repeats of “The universe has my back” and visualizing myself sitting down on my seat, holding my daughter, we get to Miami airport.

I pay Jamal the $60 we agreed and I tip him some extra for his amazing support and attitude. I am sprinting again through the airport, I get to security, I take off my shoes, empty my backpack on the tray, put my carry-on on the x-ray machine and I wait nervously for my turn and just as I get to the screens to look for my gate, I realize, the flight has been delayed.

I sigh again even louder, I want to lay down and maybe sleep a little. I also want to cry. I made it. And with the time that I wanted. Now I just have to look for my family and soon after I find them all sitting down in a restaurant, peacefully having lunch, laughing, looking bored even and in that moment again, as I am sitting down, I confirm that indeed the Universe has my back, everything goes my way and I create my own reality.

Oh and one more important take away from this story, take this if it serves you… “divide and conquer serves well except for luggage, always always always take care of your own luggage!”.



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