When we checked our bags today in Nashville for our flight to New York, Billy Bob Thornton gave us our baggage claim stubs and told us stories about pets.
It wasn’t really Billy Bob, but he did resemble him. And boy, did he want to tell us stories. “This one time, a guy wanted to check his squirrel in a cardboard box. I told him, ‘Don’t tell me that’s a seeing eye squirrel.’ He told me no, it was a rescue squirrel. He didn’t get the joke.
“So I checked our big list of animals you can bring with you. And you can only have two animals per plane, so I had to check that too. But squirrel wasn’t on the list. Rats and dogs and cats and all were. I told the guy, ‘I think what you have here is a rodent.’ He didn’t like that much. I had to get on the phone to corporate and eventually they let him go on with the squirrel, but he had to pay $100 to take him.
“Wait, one more story and I’ll let you go. This woman, she was old, like 90. She was a real fossil. She came up to check her bags and gave me a duffel bag. I picked it up and went to throw it on the conveyor belt and it woofed.
“I asked her, do you have anything you need to tell me about this bag? And it turned out she had a dog in it. ‘They told me I could bring my dog,’ she said. And I said, ‘Ma’am, you can, but it needs to be in a hard-sided ventilated pet carrier. We would have piled bags on top of this and your dog would have been dead.
“You have a good trip!”
So some words of advice to all you would-be airline travelers: put your dogs in an actual pet carrier. In fact, put your squirrels in an actual pet carrier, but bring an extra $100 for the trip.
This is not as good as when my friend Mike saw a box behind the counter that was labeled “CAREFUL: HUMAN EYES”, but not all stories can be about human eyes.