The last time I took my daughter Celine to the airport for her long flight to San Francisco to return to school, she begged for money so she could eat in the airport.
That’s not new. She always begs for money.
“You won’t need any cash,” I told her. “You will be OK.”
A perplexed look boiled all over her face.
“So you are going to let me starve at the airport,” she retorted.
I remained silent.
I sometimes walk her to the security gate to say so long and then turn around and head for the sad car ride back home.
This time I didn’t.
I did not tell Celine about a new government program that allows loved ones to join passengers beyond security and wait with them until their flight departs.
I handed a pass to a TSA agent and joined her in line.
Now she knew something was up.
“What are you doing mister?” she asked.
That’s when I told her about the new program, that I would spent the next hour with her at her gate. I was buying her lunch and eating with her.
“Why you got to be all secretive?” she asked.
I wanted it to be a surprise. We ended up spending three hours together because her flight was delayed. We ate deli sandwiches together, drank bottled water together and laughed and talked while we waited for her flight to leave.
It was very enjoyable and I was so grateful for the time together. The only reason I did not bawl like a baby when we parted was because she was coming home for Christmas in a couple weeks.
Then I will cry because we won’t see her for a while. She spent last summer working for Face book in Austin, Tx. Next summer she will work in Dallas for Boston Consulting Group.
You can also wait with friends and family at the security gate. The TSA allows 75 people per day to take advantage of the program between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Monday is a black out day. The day before departure log onto metroairport.com and apply. You will be notified by email if you are accepted.
Pick up your pass at the Delta Airlines baggage claim and share that final hug just before your son, daughter, mom or pop board the plane.
It’s that simple.
It looks like I will be using this program for a while. Celine is a junior at Stanford and job offers are already flying her way. I fished around to see if she might return home after she graduates.
That does not appear to be in the cards because she hopes to work in New York, Chicago or Seattle. Detroit was not mentioned.
But I remain hopeful.
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