Thursday, June 16, 2011

The miracles of AMMA and the TSA

About one month ago, on my way to NYC, to attend The Joyful Heart Gala, (I'm a proud board member) and I went through TSA security at LAX. Don't you hate traveling these days? I took off my belt, my shoes, (ew) and my watch (that was a gift from Oprah you heard me, Oprah) and a ring that was made by my very dear friend, Robin Renzi the amazing artist behind the jewelry line, Me and Ro. Now, by the sound of this, you might think I have very expensive jewelry, but the truth is, these two pieces are some of the most valuable pieces I own, and both have incredible sentimental value. Oprah/Robin. Oprah/Robin. It wasn't until I was washing my hands in the lavatory that I realized that I was watch and ring-less and I let out a scream that the pilot heard. Short of losing my engagement/wedding ring, losing these two pieces of jewelry was the most devastating (and costly) I could imagine.

For the next five hours I relived the placing of the ring and watch in the plastic bin, beat myself up, couldn't believe I left them behind, tried to think of where else I could have left them. Starubcks? Nah. And then resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never see them again. The ring? I know Robin, and while she no longer makes this design, she's a dear friend and she is the kind of gal that would make me another one. The watch? Oprah. Forget it. Good bye diamond encircled black alligator band, water proof, opalescent face, Phillip Stein. I don't imagine that I'll ever receive another gift bag quiet like the one my friends and I did from Oprah that weekend we spent in Montecito. But that's another story.

Here's where I get to the point: I landed. I called Jason and begged him to drive to the airport to claim my jewels. He drove on a Sunday. Not fun considering he already drove me to drop me off. They said "sorry sir, we don't give them back to anyone else other than the person who left them behind. Your wife will have to call and file a report." It was Sunday. Did I mention that? I called on Monday. I heard from a guy named Jose on Thursday, while I was still in NYC and all they said was to call back. I called back about 15 times and never heard from anyone again. When I returned from NYC a week later, as I was walking out of the airport and asked if I could claim my jewels, the badged TSA guy laughed and said, "we don't have them. Good Luck. I thought that was the end of my story.

I actually kind of forgot about the jewels. You know how that is: We lose. We Grieve. We forget. But upon further investigation, because there was a nagging voice inside me that said, "Don't give up" I found that there is a TSA lost and found office near the airport that you can physically go to and see if there's a pot at the end of the rainbow.

One month later, almost to the day, a dear friend and I were on our way to see AMMA, the hugging Saint who makes her yearly trek to LA to give out thousands and thousands of blessings/hugs. I'd never heard of her, but I'm in a big need of any blessing I can get and this sounded like a perfect way to spend a Friday morning. AND I could maybe swing by the TSA lost and found (had no idea where it was) and see if by one chance in a million they would have my jewels. We drove to the first address I had and a grumpy, yet helpful police officer said,"Go across the street and the TSA lost and found is there." Well, across the street is where AMMA was. That can't be right. How could AMMA, the hugging saint from India be close to my country's National Homeland Security Lost and Found office?

It was. In fact, I would say, without being hyperbolic that they were about 500 steps apart from each other. I walked into the lost and found at 10:00 am and by 10:15 I was pleading with the sweet woman behind the desk. Told her my sad story, as I stared at about 50 unclaimed laptops. She looked into her computer through her legal pad and then said, "Hey I was the one who got this jewelry that day." I screamed, "What?? YOU have my jewelry." Within Five minutes the sweet, helpful woman emerged with a plastic baggy and inside was the ring and watch. I did a TSA, Homeland Security Dance and hugged the lady behind the desk.

Ten minutes later, we were amidst an AMMA hugging frenzy. It was a good Friday full of blessings, lost treasures and hugs.

Note to Self: Don't give up on yourself. Your Government. And your need to get a hug.