In order to get into the Mumbai airport you need a boarding pass. You need to present this to the bearded man with the gun and the second gun in the holster around his waist. Several signs around this large man warn passengers not to even attempt approach him within 2 hours of your departure time. “Passengers MAY not enter the airport before 2 hours of departure!”
We were there an hour or so before this window of opportunity. We didn’t have a boarding pass because we were flying standby and would need to talk to a ticket agent to get the pass. It was a hundred degrees outside.
We waited our turn in line. We were on deck and my wife yielded all dialog to me. I approached the man and offered my typical friendly greetings. No response from him. Not even a hint of a smile.
“Boarding pass?” He barked.
“You see, we don’t have a boarding pass. We are traveling standby and we have to get our boarding pass from inside.” I offered.
“Boarding pass?!” He barked again. Louder this time.
I smiled and laughed. He sounded like Americans when a foreigner doesn’t recognize what they are saying so they just speak louder.
Again I tried to explain but he motioned us off to his superior who had a bigger beard and bigger gun.
I explained that we were traveling standby and showed him the paperwork we had to say so and then pulled out my ID and said “We’re employees and traveling standby and need to get in to talk to an agent.”
“Employees?” He asked looking at my ID. “Where is her ID?” Pointing to my wife.
And this… was the coolest moment… of my life. The coolest (actually, the only cool) thing I have ever said spontaneously.
“She doesn’t need an ID.” I can’t recall, but I hope I waved my hand in a Jedi-like when I said that.
And then he motioned us through. In the rush of the moment, I can’t say for certain, but I think he said… “She doesn’t need an ID” as he did so.