March 18, 2015
Americanos live in a disposable society. When we grow tired of things, we simply throw them away. Everything, and I mean everything, has a value in Mexico. When there is garbage pickup in Mexico, a man walks down the street ringing a bell. The bell signals that garbage pickup truck or cart is one block away. You don’t pay for this pickup – you simply tip the workers when you hand over your garbage. The workers sort the trash for everything recyclable, turn it in, and earn their meager wages. Everything from small pieces of tin, to heavy pieces of metal, have a value to those who sale it for a living.
We had six Elders, and one Sister, taking off from the airport in a half hour range on Wednesday. Every one of the flights was international, with only one going to the states. We have two terminals – we drive between them. Only one flight was from Terminal 1, the other 6 were in Terminal 2.
We thought we could do it all – foolish thought. Keith took four of them to the AeroMexico check in. I headed towards COPA which was flying two Elders back to the Dominican Republic. We sent the Assistants off to the other terminal to send back the American. All of them had been instructed about weight limits. I carried all passports and Visas. Keith did fine, the Assistants got the American Elder on with a few minutes to spare, and my duty fell apart. Elder Paulino’s Passport had elapsed. Our office had noticed this, and taken care of it, but neglected to send over the authorizing paper.
· *Call to office: “No matter what you are wearing or doing, grab the paper and catch a taxi. We have 20 minutes.”
Meanwhile, I tried to check in Elder Camilo. Both suitcases were many pounds overweight. Even his carryon was overweight.
· *Me to Elder Camilo: “Step out there and start to empty your cases. We have 20 minutes.”
We started to pull things out of his bag. In his carry on he had a broken utility knife, 2 pairs of scissors, and a paper punch. His luggage included 3 new Books of Mormon, one in English that he doesn’t even read. He had a huge pile of papers, Preach My Gospel, lots of fake aftershave, and a broken plastic car. We kept moving things, and making a pile that would not go home with him. Remember that everything has a value in Mexico
By now COPA has announced that we have 4 minutes. Elder Paulino was close to tears. I took his hands and said a prayer right there. I received a call that the office Elders were arriving and I took off running for the front doors – although they ended up coming in on a different floor and so I found myself doing a circle of several floors.
When we re-weighed, and handed them the authorizing papers, the Elders had missed check in by several minutes. My pleading did not change the mind of the check in clerk. We re-scheduled their flights for 3 hours later and they would arrive home 8 hours later. I’m so sorry parents!
Maybe after 3 years of this we will have it figured out!