I usually don’t have enough material for a blog post until I’ve been on the road for a few days or so. But I could have written this one even before I left the bus station in Concord. Here’s why.
I spent a lot of time getting ready for this trip, getting the house prepared, packing, making checklists, storing a car, and updating travel plans to banks and credit card companies. The main card I use for travel is a Schwab Debit Card. Schwab reimburses me for any and all ATM fees, whether here or overseas, regardless of the ATM I use. Some months that’s been $40-50 in fees. I use ATM’s a lot when I travel because I can get local currency, a receipt, and I have to use a PIN with the card – it’s more secure. Schwab also has a great fraud and security department. They’ve called me while I’ve been on the road and they have a toll free international number for calling them back. Why all the fuss about Schwab? Well, here’s why.
Once everything was all set and we were ready to leave and got a ride to the bus station in Concord. When I proceeded to pay for the bus tickets to Logan Airport I noticed I didn’t have my Schwab card. No big deal, I thought, it’s just in another pocket I guessed. We sat waiting for the bus and I searched everywhere for the card. I simply did not have it. I remained calm because we do carry cash and other cards but the Schwab card is my go-to card. I sat and concentrated on where I had last used it. Ah yes, El Rodeo for lunch yesterday. I confirmed that by open my Schwab app on my phone. I thought to call El Rodeo to see if the card was left there, but after talking it through with Laurie decided not to. I don’t know why. Maybe it seemed unlikely. After a few minutes I had a gut feeling that card just may be at El Rodeo. It was 4:30 and the bus leaves at 5. If they had the card and I could grab a taxi, I could run over and get it, I could make it work. I called them and they had the card. I walked outside the bus station and there were no cabs. Go figure. I called a cab but there was a 30 minute wait. I was back to not travelling with my Schwab card. It was 4:40 by now.
At this point I called El Rodeo back, told the hostess my predicament and pitched her with an idea. Have someone at the restaurant drop what they’re doing, drive my card over to the bus station a mile away, I would present my drivers license as proof, and throw in a $20-30 tip for the driver. She obliged and said her husband would be right over. I went outside the bus station again and waited for my card.
I was getting excited about travelling and about getting my card. I thought this was a great thing that was transpiring. Some kind of good fortune on my part. A chance to practice mindfulness, to remain calm and grounded in the present moment. I was in such a good mood that I decided I would really make the drivers day and give him an even bigger tip. It would be $50 and I had a brand new crisp $50 in my pocket. I pulled it out in the cold, windy, late afternoon December weather. It was just getting dark. The bus would be leaving in less than 10 minutes. I looked at the image of Grant on the bill as it slipped from my fingers and floated effortlessly in the air around me at eye height. Then as walked toward the bill to retrieve it, it slowly but steadily spiraled upward, and upward, and upward. The wind had kicked up just as I watched it fly higher than the bus station roof into the darkness. At this point I realized what an amazing afternoon I was having and laughed to myself, or at myself, I’m not sure which.
I turned my attention back to the slow stream of cars that were pulling up to the bus station. Most were picking up or dropping off people. One of the drivers put their window down commented “That was unbelievable, I saw that, that bill float right out of your hand, right up into the sky.” Yes, I replied.
A few minutes later the driver pulled up and put his window down. “David Breen?” has asked. Yes, I replied, as I handed him my license. He verified it was me, handed back my license and my Schwab card. I handed him his tip and thanked him. We exchanged thank you’s a few more times, shook hands, and said goodbye.
I turned around and there was a line of people boarding the 5:00 bus. I went back inside and found Laurie, smiled and gave her the thumbs up, grabbed our luggage, and proceeded to board the bus. We were off to Logan Airport, headed to Dubai for 3 nights before travelling onward to India. On the bus ride I reflected on my good fortune once again. The good fortune of having the disposition to pause and laugh at myself and what was unfolding – realizing I had lost my favorite travel card, watching the $50 bill slipping from my hand, meeting a stranger who dropped what he was doing and drove my card over to me, and my wife, lovingly watching all of it, smiling at how much progress I’ve made over the years.
If you’re anywhere near the bus station, keep an eye out for that $50 bill floating around. If you find it, head over to El Rodeo and treat yourself. See you soon.