I went to college halfway across the country, so I was always flying back and forth to school. As a dance major, I would always pack a carryon with all my dance shoes and leave less important things like clean underwear to fend for themselves in checked baggage.
It was always fine, and since my checked bags usually arrived three days late, a pretty great system. Until it wasn’t.
I was flying back to school after a summer of theatre and had my tap shoes in my little rolly bag. I popped it up on the conveyor belt and sent it through the X-ray. For the first time in my life, the guy at the end pulled my bag aside, saying there was something suspicious they needed to examine. Fine, whatever. I don’t mind being searched if it keeps people safe.
The man grabbed out my tap shoes and sent them back through the X-ray. They were super fancy tap shoes, so under the tap was a thin layer of metal to create better resonance. But this man didn’t know anything about tap tone quality; he just thought my beloved and expensive shoes were a threat.
He reached under his counter and pulled out a screwdriver to unscrew my taps and check beneath them! I begged, I pleaded, I might’ve cried a little, too. I told him that if he took out those screws they would never go back in right and my shoes would be ruined!
He just glared at me like I was trying to hide the plague in my shoes.
Finally, the lady working the next conveyor belt over came to my rescue. Her granddaughter took tap lessons, and she confirmed that taking out the screws would ruin my shoes. Begrudgingly, he put the shoes back in my bag and let me go, so my tap shoes and I made it unscathed to school.