A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Baggage Claim

So I’m in Miami today, getting ready to speak at a prayer breakfast tomorrow for the families of fallen law enforcement officers of the Miami Dade Police Department – in honor of National Law Enforcement month. It was a quick flight, filled with excitement as I was surrounded by what I figured out was a group of church folks headed on a mission trip to Guatamala. Something about being surrounded by outgoing missionaries made me sit a little straighter, look a little  more pious, and hide my issue of People Magazine. Yep – still trying to fit in with the cool crowd after all these years. It was only a two hour flight, so I knew chances were good that I could keep up the pious face, and not make any mistakes that would land me on yet another prayer chain. (There are thirty-seven others that currently have me at the top of the list – including my pastor’s.)

The plane had rolled to a stop and we were waiting to disembark when the stewardess says, “Will Kelly Swanson please hit the ‘flight attendant’ button. I repeat. Will Kelly Swanson please hit the ‘flight attendant’ button.”  It took me a moment to decide there was probably only one Kelly Swanson on this plane and I was it. I gave a curious shrug to my seat mate (the pastor of this group of missionaries) who raised his eyebrows in what I was sure was a combination of his disappointed look and his “How often did you pray this week?” look. I smiled and tried not to look guilty – but I couldn’t help it. I have such a guilty conscience that I will feel guilty for things I don’t even know I did. This was no exception. I ran through a list of possible scenarios: I was on the wrong plane – I left one of my hair extensions at security – my luggage got shipped to Arkansas – or worse, my luggage broke and they were going to have to hand me all my belongings in a clear plastic bag, where everybody in the terminal had a bird’s eye view of my granny panties.

I hit the flight attendant button, and the pastor pointed to the button beside it. I had apparently hit the light. Great. So now he thinks I’m in trouble AND stupid. Everybody on the plane was staring at me like I had grown another ear. I shrugged and tried not to look guilty. “I feel like I’m being sent to the principal’s office,” I said, and they chuckled sympathetically, while reaching for the cell phone cameras just in case this got good. Nothing happened until we got to the front of the plane and I asked the flight attendant why they had called my name. “I don’t know,” she said. “The gate agent told us to find you.” Great. Now gate agents were involved. I swore I could smell dog breath belonging to the K9 unit waiting for me at the bag check.  I wondered if they would let me wear hair extensions in prison. Meanwhile the other passengers are now staring openly, confused that a terrorist would be wearing spandex, platform wedges, and a hair piece.

Standing at the bottom of the stairs was a very serious police officer whose cute face made me wonder if perhaps this was a stripper, and was it my birthday? And I couldn’t help but wonder how this was going to go over with the missionaries who were standing there slack jawed staring at me and the officer – I guess watching to see if I was going to make a break for it. As if. If I have the choice between running and prison, I’d chose prison. The police officer gently grabs my arm and says, “Kelly Swanson?” I was going to lie, but the only name I could think of was Oprah Winfrey, and I didn’t think he was going to buy it. So I just nodded and gulped as he said, “Follow me.” I threw a look over my shoulder to the others that said “Pray for me” and “Does my butt look big in these pants? Because I may be wearing them for ten to twenty years.”

You may have already guessed that the police officer was not there to arrest me. He was there to give me a police escort, which I’m sure he thought was a kind gesture, whereas I beg to differ. You would understand if you were riding on that shuttle bus from the plane to the terminal and saw the people watching me and the cop. “I’m not being arrested!” I finally yelled. “See? No cuffs!”  But I’m not sure they believed me. And even when I found out he was there to be my escort, it didn’t stop me from feeling guilty as he walked me through the airport and people tried not to stare – some not trying very hard.  I could feel them trying to figure out my crime. It felt like forever before he finally dropped me off at the rental car agency. Yes, he drove me in the police car. What a thrill. I waved good-bye, excited to see him go.

So that’s my brush with prison. I didn’t say it was fancy. But it was mine. I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere. Tomorrow they are sending a motorcade to escort me to the event. This should be good.

Your wacky motivational speaker,  who’s kind of disappointed he wasn’t a stripper.




Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. Feeling nervous and guilty? Maybe you should finally address all of those bench warrants. You’d sleep better and travel wouldn’t be so dicey.

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha!  I LOVE this!  Is it just motivational speakers who get this kind of treatment?  I got picked up in a cow car once.  Nothing like what you experienced though.  Very cool, Kelly

  3. LOL! It always cracks me up that no matter how far we’ve grown and gone in life, our first reaction to hearing our name and being singled out is always one of fear and concern. What did I do?! Perhaps it’s years of blunders, but I too would be less than comfortable being greeted by a policeman…especially in an airport. Looking forward to hearing the motorcade story in the morning from one of my favorite motivational speakers.

  4. Why Kelly, running is NEVER an option in platform wedges!!  Hahahaha!!  I’ll add you to MY prayer chain if ever you decide to run from a police escort!  I’m sure they hired the perfect motivational speaker for their event.

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