Losing My License and My Mind in Phoenix

Why Me?

This weekend was awesome. But it almost wasn’t.

Back on my 30th birthday, Taylor’s gift to me was a verbal promise for a one-day ticket to the Coachella Music Festival. But the ticketing guidelines changed this year, and only $270 full weekend passes were available. When my Coachella plans fell through, he told me to find something else I was passionate about attending, and to use the money for that ticket. I promptly signed up for Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix.

The thing is…a $99 registration fee doesn’t include all the other stuff (meals, transportation, etc) Detail after detail miraculously fell into place over the next 2 months, and I was ready for an exciting weekend at a Scottsdale resort. Miracle of miracles, I got on the standby flight from SLC to PHX at the last second (after arriving at the airport and breezing through security with 27 minutes till departure).

When I arrived at the gate at PHX, I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket to reply to a few tweets, and my drivers license was stuck to the phone. I’m quite diligent about returning my ID to my wallet after security…since everything seems to get jumbled up in my purse and pockets when I travel. But I thought, “I’m gonna be renting my car in a few minutes, I’ll just leave it my my pocket.” After a ridiculous criss-crossing of Terminal 3 (because the “Ground Transportation” signs don’t mean “Car Rental Shuttle”), I hopped on the bus. Immediately, the bus driver announced that Vice President Joe Biden’s private plane was about to land, and all ground and air traffic was halted. I was frustrated, but what can you do? 30 minutes later, I arrived at the PHX Airport Car Rental Center (several miles from the terminal). I flew off the bus, ran to the rental counter, pulled out my wallet, and my drivers license wasn’t in there. I panicked for a half-second before realizing that I’d left my license in my pocket. I pulled out a wad of boarding passes, receipts, and candy wrappers….but no license.

I talked to the rental car agent. I had my hole-punched Georgia drivers license on me, and explained that I’d lost my Utah license. He said ‘We aren’t authorized to rent without a valid license, but I can recommend some off-airport locations that will let you rent without ID for an additional fee”. (WTF?) I hurredly ran through the rental car building…no licenses on the floor. I ran toward the shuttle I’d just been on….no license. I even checked shuttles I didn’t ride on (I know that there’d be no chance of another shuttle, but I FELT like it would help) Each minute that passed, I felt more upset and neurotic. Without a license I couldn’t rent a car, nor could I pass through security for my return flight. I was praying for spontaneous Xanax to appear in my hand.

I took the shuttle back to the terminal. I walked up and down all the areas that security would permit me. I talked to ticket counter agents, TSA agents, custodians, tourists, anyone that might have had their eyes on the floor to notice my smiling face on a piece of rectangular plastic. My phone was almost dead, so I plopped down on the ground at an outlet next to the baggage carousel. I plugged in my phone and began to sob a jagged prayer in a heap on the floor.

Within two minutes, an airport employee walked up to me and asked, “Are you Nicole?” I knew this kind soul was a direct answer to a prayer I’d just uttered. I stumbled up on my feet, gave her a gigantic bear hug, and blubbered out the best words of appreciation I could mutter. A passenger had seen the license on the ground, but the airport Lost and Found had already closed for the day. The one who found it turned it in to this girl who worked for airport catering. She was almost off shift, and wandered around for an hour looking for me. Even after she’d clocked out of her shift…she knew if she kept looking for me, I’d be there.

After composing myself, I took the shuttle back to the rental car center to pick up my car. Because I was paying with a debit card, they had to take out a $250 depositĀ  (which I was anticipating)…but then they said I had to have proof on paper of my return flight. Back I went to the terminal to have a Delta agent list me for the Sunday return flight, and once again to the rental car center. Three hours after my flight landed, I was in my rental car headed for Scottsdale. I had barely eaten anything during the day, and was ravenous after 6 hours since my last meal. I stopped at a Chick-Fil-A, got my dinner, and my BELOVED PEACH MILKSHAKE.

20 minutes later, I checked into my room, flopped on my bed, and stared at the ceiling for a bit. I knew a bunch of ladies were eating at the restaurant on site, and I didn’t want to miss out. Luckily, I LOOKED better than I FELT at that point…so I joined the girls for some mixing and mingling. As soon as I saw my roomie Adrian, I burst into spontaneous tears again. But within moments, I was showered with hugs and love and everything started to feel right. I knew I was going to have a blast at Bloggy Boot Camp.

And soon I’ll tell you all about it.

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