US Border Services

By | December 17, 2010

530am we check in. That was smooth. 10 guys, 22 checked bags, and tons of excitement. 1 X-ray machine, 2 shoes in the tote, 3minute wait. Through security we all go, no delays. It’s almost 6am, with 1 gate to go.

‘What is the nature of your visit to the United States?’ the USBS agent asks. I tell him I’m on the way to Costa Rica, and we have a 4 hour layover in Fort Worth, Texas. ‘Your being sent to secondary screening for a random inspection’ he declares, without so much as a grin. My body goes flush, palms sweat a bit, there’s a lump in my throat. I am nervous, and I don’t know why. If I miss this flight, I’m going to be pissed.

One way windows, automatic locking doors, agents with weapons… This place looks less then hospitable. It’s 6:04am, 1 hour 41 minutes until my flight takes off. No reason to panic, yet.

13 of us sit on a bench watching a man leave in handcuffs. This is not a pleasant place. The girl in wicket 4 is crying her eyes out. The guy beside me is clearly nervous, what am I doing here.

7:15am, it’s panic time. 11 US Border Service agents, only 1 with a client. There’s 4 people who arrive before me, who have yet to be seen.

My phone rings, it’s 7:20. My flight is boarding, WTF is going on here. ‘Are you alright’ reads a text. ‘I don’t know, I haven’t been seen yet’ I reply.

7:23, ‘gagne’ a female USBS agent calls out. I bounce up, grab my bag, and hurry my way to her desk.

5 questions and 8 minutes later I’m out of there. Thankful, and angry. 7:31, 14 minutes to make the flight. I ask for directions to gate E79. ‘down the hall, make a right, it’s at the end’. The END?!$&@. Obviously.

With urgency in my stride, I make my way through the gauntlet of strollers, suit cases, and a few other obstacles on the moving sidewalk and find myself at the terminal just shy of 7:39. ‘oh, Gagne… The team was waiting for you. They didn’t want to leave you behind. You are a lucky man, we were a minute away from giving your seat away to stand-by’. They take my boarding pass, and toss me on the plane.

I’m through, thank god! Good bye Canada, hello Costa Rica!!