Encounter with unsung heroes
In the famous poem, Desiderata, there’s the part that says, “Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.”
I find this reminder from the author Max Ehrmann appropriate for my experience at NAIA 3 last May 15, when my friend, Marilyn Robles, and I went to Boracay.
We took Cebu Pacific . As the usual airport procedures, we had our bags go through the X-ray machine, loaded them in the trolley and proceeded to the check-in counter. We each had three bags: one for check-in, and two to be hand- carried.
As we were lining up at the Cebu Pacific counter, we prepared our tickets and ID. I panicked when I realized my handbag was not in the trolley. Did I leave it in the taxi? It was a TAI taxi and I have their number but it’s in my cell phone, which is in my missing bag.
I retraced my steps which brought me to the X-ray machine. There I saw my bag on top of the counter of the lady airport personnel supervising the monitoring of the items loaded in the X-ray machine. Her name is Myrna Pardines.
What a relief to see my bag. I excitedly claimed my bag but Ms Pardines said I have to prove that I was the owner of my bag. I told her my name. She asked for my ticket. I replied, “It’s in my bag.” She asked for my ID. I replied, with some irritation: “It’s in my bag.”
P03 Mauro Fernandez, a young, no-nonsense member of the Philippine National Police at NAIA3, joined Pardines. He made me open my bag and believed my claim of ownership when my ID matched the name I gave them.
But they would not still give me back my bag. Fernandez wanted me to list all the items in my bag because he said it happened before that the owner of a recovered bag complained of missing bills.
My bag is my house. I carry a lot of things when I travel. I told them that I will just sign a certification that the contents of the bag were complete. Fernandez wouldn’t agree.
I was getting irritated but there was nothing that I could do. So I listed every item, down to the last centavo; my IDs ; my cards; reading materials;shawl; ballpens, toiletries; and medicines including three pieces of Band-Aid; etc. etc. After accomplishing that, I rushed to the check-in counter. I made it very well ahead of closing time.
That’s when I realized that my testiness towards Fernandez and Pardines was uncalled for. They were doing their job well. Imagine if my bag was picked up by a dishonest person!
I went back to them and apologized. Fernandez said he understood . Passengers leaving their bags inside the airport is a common occurrence. He said there was one time when the bag contained a big amount of dollars. He said he was never tempted to get what does not belong to him.
He is a single parent to three kids.
Thank you very much, PO3 Fernandez and Ms Pardines. May we have more of you in public service.