Monday, December 1, 2008

Suspect Package? Diamonds? Or A Keychain?

While riding the train to Heathrow airport on Sunday, Brett and I were seated across from a young woman and her two male companions - all with suitcases. A few stops from the airport an announcement came on. If you weren’t listening closely it sounded like “passengers for the airport should exit here and wait on the platform.” They quickly jumped up and ran off as one of the men said “Wait! Why are we getting off? Nobody else with luggage is exiting!” They attempted to re-enter the train but the doors had closed. It was only after the train started moving that we noticed the girl had left behind a Harrod’s bag and an umbrella.

For those of you who don’t know, Harrod’s is like Barneys department store in New York. They’re super high-end, selling everything from $15.00 a pound raw turkeys to $5,000 pairs of shoes. They also sell tourist trinkets and affordable luxuries like $5 boxes of tea in Harrods tins. The other thing to remember with this story is the idea of “suspect packages.” In London, they’ve had terror attacks in the subway, so all through the subway stations there are signs saying “if you see unattended luggage or suspect packages, let us know.”

Brett and I were eying the package. My thoughts ranged from: I should give it to Lost and Found at Heathrow….to…....I wonder if there’s a diamond bracelet in there……....I could use an umbrella…’s probably security cameras in here… we told an employee about the package, would they stop the train and evacuate everyone, causing the train to be delayed?…..Maybe we just shouldn’t say anything because it seemed like a genuine accident....

When we arrived at the next stop, a subway employee came on to pick up garbage. We watched speechlessly as he just picked up the umbrella and the Harrods bag and unceremoniously dumped them in his garbage bag along with the water bottles and newspapers. In seconds he was back off the train and we were left to wonder: Did that man just throw away a diamond? An explosive? Or a Harrod’s keychain. I guess we’ll never know.

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