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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Shoes...Almost an International Incident

My mother--for Labor Day-- decided to fly to New York to see The Color Purple on broadway with some friends of hers. They stayed for three days. Getting her ready was the start of the problem that almost caused an international incident. Well it really began with my father. He found a newspaper article about all the things not allowed on planes..gels, lotions, makeup, liquids. Nothing like that allowed these days. Well there was a section on shoes as to what was allowed. Here is the section about shoes and what is and not allowed in the airport:

New Airport Security Rules

The national security threat level has been raised from yellow to orange and passengers may not take liquids, gels, or creams through the security checkpoint or on an aircraft. Below are the restrictions for air travelers in the U.S. Travelers to and from the United Kingdom may be subject to additional security restrictions and should check directly with their airline.

Current Restrictions:

  • Liquids, gels, aerosols and creams may be packed in checked, but not carry-on luggage. Restricted items include shampoo, sun tan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel, liquid mascara and other products of similar consistency.
  • Beverages may not be taken through the security checkpoints and beverages purchased post-security (beyond the checkpoint) must be consumed before boarding.
  • All passengers must remove their shoes so they may be x-rayed with their carry-ons bags. Gel shoe inserts are not allowed. Travelers can wear shoes constructed with gel heels; like all footwear these shoes must be removed and screened at the checkpoint.

Well my mother always tries to be fashionable whenever she goes anywhere. She had on a suit and a pair of black sandals that I think were Aerosoles. They looked like these.

She looked good. What she does is take a 2nd pair of shoes with her just about wherever she goes. She wears the high heels just for looks to get her into and out of a place and then takes a 2nd pair that she can actually walk in. I only buy shoes that I know I can walk in for more than 10 steps. If I recall she has done that most of my shoes that she could only wear for about 10 steps, just for show. That to me is a waste of good shoes. If I buy a shoe I have to be able to wear them. Well we had gone over all the rules about gels and potions and lotions. My father had her convinced that her 2nd pair of shoes that she was carrying in her carry on bag was a gel sole and would not be allowed. She asked me about them. I looked at them. I read what my father had in regards to guidelines and told mom that these were not gel sole shoes. She had nothing to fear. Her shoes were like these with a thick rubber sole.. not a gel. My mother was still not so convinced.

I drove her to the airport 3 hours before her flight. We got there at 7am for a 10:20 am flight. We waited and finally she was off! She went through the security gate and she was asked about her take them off. She thougth they meant the shoes in the bag. She took them out. The security guard meant her shoes she had on. Finally she got with the program and took them off to be xrayed. I lost sight of her after she went to New York.

She was off to LaGuardia and three days of flitting around the Big Apple. Did she have the right shoes with her? Hell no! She had not brought any shoes for walking. She was done in. She had to walk in heels or wedge sandals most of the time. What have I told her? You have to buy shoes you can actually wear. And pack shoes according to your activity...not for looks. (I do not have 4 pairs of hiking boots for nothing!) She said she hobbled around ChinaTown, Little Italy, Harlem and barely made it through a 3 hour walking tour of the city! (Poor thing---you have to have the right shoes)

Well, all was well until the return trip to the airport. The day before they left, mom placed a small tube of hand lotion from Bath and Body Works in her purse. She forgot about it and did not remove it from her purse for the return trip home. She was going thru the security gates with her purse and shoes on the table to be scanned. All of a sudden loud buzzers started going off. She looked around not realizing all that commotion was for her. The guard who was scanning her personal items suddenly tells her in a very loud voice not to move a stand right where she was and to put both hands on the table where he could see them. She said she did that immediately --put her hands on the table.

As she told me this story I imagined that somewhere out of her line of vision guns may have been trained in her and somewhere in offices we could not see, cameras were zooming in on her and men were talking back and forth on walkie talkies ----"breaker, breaker.....Al Qaeda suspect going thru security right now. Description of the suspect--70 year old grandmother type, well dressed black woman in a suit carrying a bible. Take her down! Take her down now! "

Well, the security guard then told her not to make any sudden moves toward her purse as he was now going to open her purse and search the contents. My mother stood mannequin still. Would they shoot a little old women in the airport for some hand lotion? He opened her purse and found a tube of lotion from Bath and Body works that had been given to my mother as a gift. That was the offending thing that set off all the alarms and had my mother now labeled as an Al Qaeda operative. The man opened the lotion. My mother said to him that it was just lotion. He then seemed to relax and then gave her the option to put it in her bag that had been already checked. My mother, visbily shaken said, " do with that lotion what you need to do. I do not want it. "

With that he took her lotion and there was no furthur incident. As she showed me her "fakes" that she bought from the street vendors, she told me what happened. I admonished her. How could she forget that? We had gone over all the rules and what not to put in her purse. She said she simply forgot. How I do not know. I looked over her "Prada" bag, the "Louis Vuitton" wallet and asked her how much she paid for these knockoffs. Not a bad price and thank goodness she did not get ripped off.

She has learned her lesson. No more lotion for her. Next time she will pack the "right" shoes and not the "show" shoes. Some people! You just can' t take them anywhere!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

2 Broken Heels:

Katie said...

We live in scary times. And you can't trust anyone over 70!
I'm with you on the shoes - if you can't walk, what's the point of going anywhere?
Hiking boots are great! (But, when I do decide to where cut little sandals my white feet at the bottom of my tan legs look funny)

Tinker said...

lol katie!