The Case of the Missing Suitcase

Two air travelers, exhausted after a string of canceled flights, learn that someone is looking out for them after all.

- Posted on Sep 26, 2017

A red suitcase

“Paging Missie Miller, Missie Miller, please report to the informa­tion desk.”

Me? What did they want with me? Again came the announcement. I stopped and glanced at my hus­band, Jeff. We’d just gotten off our flight from Los Angeles, and I could tell he was thinking the same thing I was. What now?

All I wanted was to get to my home, outside Dayton, and sleep in our big, comfortable bed. Instead, Jeff and I had been living in airports for two days straight. Our vacation to Hawaii had started off great. We’d found cheap tickets to Honolulu. The only catch was we’d have to fly standby. We were willing to take our chances. Big mistake. On our way home, the Friday before Labor Day, we were bumped from two flights out of Honolulu and stranded over­night. We caught an early-morning flight to Los Angeles, only to be bumped from three more flights and stranded overnight again.

Meanwhile, our luggage had made it onto the first flight out of Hawaii and was waiting for us at the Dayton International Airport. In the interim, we’d been living off airport food and the contents of my purse: toothpaste, deodorant, banana chips and a can of Pringles. With every promise of another flight, we asked God to get us safely home.

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An agent offered a Sunday-morning flight to Indianap­olis, a two-hour drive from where we lived. By that point, we were willing to go anywhere, as long as it got us closer to Ohio, so I said, “Book it.” We’d rent a car in Indianapolis, drive to Dayton for our luggage, then head home. I felt a glimmer of hope. God was moving things in our favor.

Now all I felt was nerves as my name was repeated over the airport intercom. “What did you do?” Jeff joked. I couldn’t help but laugh. How much more trouble could we be in? It was as if we were in a real-life version of Planes, Trains & Automobiles! We went up to the information desk

“I’m Missie Miller,” I said to the desk attendant. “You paged me?”

“The police need to talk to you,” the attendant said, then gestured to a cop nearby. Why on earth did the police want to talk to me? Last time I checked, it wasn’t a crime to eat Pringles out of your purse!

Jeff and I walked toward the officer. As we did, I was momentarily dis­tracted by a woman coming up the escalator to our level. She was wearing a yellow peasant blouse, just like one I had. How strange. “Focus, Missie,” I told myself.

The officer sized us up. “Is this your luggage?” the cop said, pointing to a black suitcase. Our suitcase!

“What’s our luggage doing here?” Jeff said. “It’s supposed to be in Dayton. And we had two bags....”

The cop ignored Jeff and asked me if I’d just gotten out of a taxi. “No,” I said. “We got off the plane from L.A. a few minutes ago.”

“You’re sure you didn’t leave your luggage in a taxi?” the cop asked. Two more police officers arrived.

Just then, another voice piped up from the information desk. “I’m Missie Miller,” a woman said. I spun around. The woman in the yellow peasant blouse! What were the odds we’d have the same name and the same blouse? I eyed her more close­ly. Wait a second.... She was wearing my sunglasses...and my favorite cutoff shorts. And toting our second suitcase! What was going on?

The cop waved her over, then asked us both to show our IDs. I pulled mine from my purse. The other Missie Miller said she didn’t have an ID. The officer had her open her purse and then checked her license. She was not Missie Miller. She was handcuffed and led away.

That’s when Jeff and I got the whole story. The woman had taken our suitcases off the baggage carousel in Dayton, changed into my clothes and assumed my name, which was on the luggage. Then she’d hailed a cab to Indianapolis, most likely to steal from baggage claim again, the cops said. When she got to Indianapolis and tried to pay for the taxi, her credit card was de­clined. So she took one suitcase with her, left the other one in the cab and told the driver she’d be back with cash. She never returned, and the cabbie contacted the police. Meanwhile, at the airport, the woman approached the ticket counter and tried to get a flight out by saying that her name was Missie Miller and that she’d lost her ticket. That didn’t work and she was most likely on her way out of the airport when she heard the message on the loudspeaker...

Jeff and I looked at each other, stunned. We’d had no idea that our bags had been stolen! Luckily, God knew where we needed to be.

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