Monday, September 26, 2011

Don't Leave Home Without It

BJ is in the middle of the business trip from hell.

He left for the airport Saturday, and I left for Grammaland about half an hour later. (Sorry I didn't get to see you while I was there, anyone I missed, it was a busy trip, as you'll read, here...). I got about halfway there when I got a call from BJ.

"I am such a jackass," he said.  "I left my wallet at home."

He had gotten to the security line before he realized that his wallet was gone.
"No, sir, we don't see your wallet anywhere."
I called several people who have keys to our house, before I got in touch with our neighbor, Chelle, who was home and was able to run over and check the house for his wallet.  I wasn't sure what I would do if she found it, since I was an hour and a half away from the airport, and BJ's flight was in 45 minutes, but step one was Find The Wallet.

She searched everywhere - it wasn't in the house.  BJ searched his car, and I searched mine.  It was nowhere.  That's when I began to suspect that it had been stolen.

I've been on the phone ever since.

Of course it was Saturday, so no one was at the bank, but I called them and reported the cards stolen to the voicemail, and begged them to call me back ASAP.  I stopped at my mom's office, hacked into BJ's email to find the hotel and car information, called the bank's voicemail again, because I knew I had a bad connection the first time, then I called the hotel to check him in with my ID.  I had to fax my ID to them, and my credit card to their billing department so that he could eat when he got there.

I called my Bonus Mom and got my stepbrother's number, because he lives in LA.  I didn't even get the whole story out before he said, "What can I do to help?"  I asked him to loan BJ a couple hundred bucks, and to pick him up at the airport and take him to the hotel (no license = no rental car).  He did, thank goodness, and so at least I knew he wouldn't be living in the airport until his return flight.  (Thanks again, Jason!!!)

Did you know that you can fly without ID?  True story.  But they ask you a bunch of questions about your home (like your phone number) and your family (they asked him my date of birth) and they get really snarky if your wife is calling you with questions about whether or not to cancel the credit cards in the middle of the interview.  What I want to know is how the heck does the TSA know my date of birth, and why don't they ever send a card?

BJ was in such a hurry to catch his plane, he left his car keys with the TSA.  *sigh*  He has already called them, though, and they're holding them for him.  And I have his spare set in case they get lost between now and then, so I might be driving to Indy in the middle of the night tomorrow night with the kids to get him.  AWESOME.

My aunt Kathryn and I went grocery shopping Saturday night (we're doing a meal swap, and the reason I was up there was to cook with her - 6 quiches and 6 batches of chicken noodle soup from scratch).  My credit card declined the first time I ran it at Aldi, and my heart fell out of my chest and flopped around on the floor.  "They cleaned me out!" I cried.  The cashier had me run it again, though, and it worked.  Turns out that Aldi only takes Debit cards.  Whoops.

On the way home from the store, the bank finally called me back and verified that the bad guys hadn't stolen all of our money (yay!).  I'm sure the bad guy was quite happy with the $100 in cash that BJ had on him.

Kathryn had the terrific idea to send BJ his passport via FedEx, so he'd have ID.  (He needs to meet with defense contractors, and can't enter their facilities without ID).  And I realized that I had a work credit card at the office that I could send to him.  However, there wasn't much I could do yesterday, since it was Sunday and I was in Grammaland, so I made soup, instead.  Today I went to the office as soon as I got MG on the bus, and we faxed a copy of BJ's passport to him, then got the spare credit card.  While we were there I locked my keys in my office, because I'm a bonehead, but Kayla the client services rep was there and opened it right back up for me with her Master key.

Claire, Jack, and I went to Walmart while BJ waited for the FedEx location near the hotel to open, so he could see if he can have something shipped to him there (he has to check out of his hotel before it will arrive).  It was $94.94 to send it with guaranteed-by-8:30am delivery.  Ouch.

After that, we went home to drop off the groceries.  Then we went to the Police Department to report his wallet stolen.  They wouldn't talk to me, though, so I had to call the Indianapolis Police Department, and they transferred me to the Airport Police Department (who knew?).  The guy I was talking to kept calling it "lost," even though I'm sure it was "stolen."  Whatever.  He gave me a case number, which I then used to write to the credit bureaus to report BJ "at risk" for identity theft.  I called the BMV to report his driver license stolen, because the APD guy told me to, but they wouldn't take a report (they said there was nothing they could do about it).

When I got home, I made the girls lunch, then I sent a letter to Trans Union with the Case ID number telling them to put a fraud freeze on our account.  Happily, their website said to contact one of the three credit monitoring agencies, and once the freeze went through they'd notify the other two on our behalf.  Aren't they cooperative?

I still need to call the FTC.  Not sure why, but Trans Union's website said to call them, so I will.

Is there anything else I'm forgetting?

It doesn't sound like much, all written out like this, but it has been so stressful knowing he's out there with only $200 and no ID or credit card.  It's as bad as the time he got really, really sick with food poisoning on a business trip, and he was all alone, and I couldn't get the woman at the front desk of the hotel to take him a Sprite or anything.

BJ didn't get the memo that I'd given the hotel my credit card number, so for dinner on Saturday night he had airplane peanuts.  That's what he had for lunch Saturday, too.  Poor baby.  I could have smacked the hotel manager for not making it clear to BJ that he can charge whatever he needs to his room while he's there.

He texted me from his class Sunday morning and said, "Free breakfast!" I replied, "Stuff your pockets!"

So here's Amy's Travel Tip Of The Week:  When you travel, put half your cash and a credit card in a location separate from your main purse/wallet so that you're not completely screwed when you get where you're going and you realize that some jerk has lifted your purse/wallet.  I think we're also going to get state issued ID cards (which look just like driver licenses, but aren't) so that we can keep those separate, too, so we don't have to take the spooky TSA quiz if this ever happens again.  When we're home, we can just keep them in the safe with the rest of our documents (that way we don't have to carry our passports when we travel within the US, because those are a bitch to replace if they get lost/stolen).

What really sucks is that BJ is totally the kind of person who would have bought the thief lunch if he had just said, "Hey, I'm in a bind, can you help?" (I've seen him do this SO many times), but instead some asshole just helped himself to our hard earned money, and has made a hell of a lot of work for me.  I am so pissed.

However, *deep breath*, I am grateful that it was a pickpocket and not a mugger with a gun.  I'm grateful that BJ arrived in LA safely, if a little hungry, and that his passport and his credit card will get to him tomorrow morning.  I'm grateful that my stepbrother lives in LA, and he was so willing to help.  I'm grateful that our friend John took BJ out for dinner last night. I'm grateful that we have cell phones and fax machines and the internet at our fingertips, to help us deal with things like this far more efficiently than we could have without technology.  I'm glad that we have enough money to cover the loss.  I'm glad that we have helpful friends and relatives who have helped me remember all the things that needed to be taken care of to protect us from further theft.

It has been a lot of work, but it could have been a lot worse.


Bev said...

State IDs are a great way to have a legal form of ID available if your driver's license gets stolen. My DIL thought of that; she and my son have them. I'm taking my mom to get one tomorrow (purely coincidental!)since she no longer drives and needed ID Saturday at a place where they would not accept her retiree Military ID (figure that one out!) so maybe I should get one too while I'm there (purely as a result of your post here!).

RobMonroe said...

Why, that's no fun at all! Hope he is headed home by now and all gets back to normal soon!