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Greyhound Lost My Suitcase

August 18, 2017

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Photo credit: Tafv Sampson

I will be posting about my mother’s funeral soon, but this is the most pressing thing on my mind now, since it’s looking forward, rather than back. I posted this review on Yelp with all the details:

These people lost my luggage. I have filed a claim with Greyhound and filed a police report with IMPD.

When I got off the bus here, the baggage handlers told me to stay back and let them do their jobs.

When I came for my return trip, an African American woman, probably in her 30s or 40s, in glasses and a Greyhound baggage handler uniform saw that I was using a cane. She asked me where I was going (New York City), and escorted me to the front of the line in which I was standing, taking my rolling suitcase to the baggage area. It was in the baggage area when I got on the bus, and not in the baggage area when the bus pulled out. It was not on the bus when I arrived back in New York City. I have tried filing baggage claims in person, online, and over the phone (which involved over twenty minutes on hold). I was told that no lost baggage had been found. I had paid $40 to check the bag since it was ten pounds overweight, and it had my contact information written on a Greyhound tag tied to the handle

I am on unemployment insurance benefits ($139 a week) and live on a homeless shelter that gave me a three-night bereavement pass (August 11th through 14th, service on the 12th) to attend the funeral of my mother in Indianapolis (drawing off my meager savings to do so). That was the last time I ever wore my suit., which I have had for over 22 years, because it and all my ties are in my luggage, as were my shavers, medication, medical device (night splints), grooming supplies (the replacement nail clippers I found at Target are very poor quality), most of my polo and dress shirts, almost all my black socks (the only shoes that I’ve found that fit the shape of my foot (which just broadens the farther away form my heal) are black, so that’s pretty much all I wear. For days I’ve been wearing some brown socks I was given years ago at a soup kitchen), two pairs of black jeans, a bathrobe, slippers etc. The fact that I practically live out of this suitcase means that I lost almost all my necessities as the result of an act of faux courtesy. If no one had intervened, I would have put my suitcase on the coach myself as I had in New York (which even at that got moved around by baggage handlers). Not trusting the shelter to honor my bereavement pass (shelters are the new low income housing in New York, and I’ve learned not to trust staff or administrators, but they did honor it), I took only enough out of my suitcase to put in my suit, bathrobe, and night splints, which I don’t normally keep in my suitcase while it is in my locker, and most of what I took out was clothing I don’t use very much. I am glad the irreplaceable things like my opera manuscript were in my backpack, which I had as a carry-on, and left my sight only briefly during the Philadelphia layover.

I called the Indianapolis bus station from the shelter, and they said they did not find it. I couldn’t get anyone in New York to actually look at a computer and tried to find out where my suitcase had ended up (I definitely recall there being barcodes on the printout, which was adhered to the bag’s right side imagining the back as a human back). I keep pressing them and IMPD and Greyhound to look at the security camera footage to see who was the last to touch my baggage, but their responses gave me no confidence that this would be done. I hope they surprise me.

The ride I booked (which was the only one available at purchase time that would get me back in time for Monday evening curfew, when my bereavement pass expired), which was supposed to transfer to an express bus in Philadelphia, which would skip the New Jersey stops, was late, and those assigned to board that bus were told to remain on it. when I arrived in New York, my suitcase was nowhere to be found. The baggage office staff there was useless. I had to go twice before they had me fill out a paper baggage tracking form. The clerk insisted that my baggage claim ticket was printed in Philadelphia even though it says “13Aug17 10:28p,” over two hours before my ride was scheduled to leave Indianapolis, “14Aug17 12:50a”. He interpreted “CLAIM BAG(S) AT: PHILADELPHIA PA NEW YORK NY” meant that the ticket was printed in Philadelphia. I had difficulty explaining to my friends this foolishness. They couldn’t get their heads around the idea that he wasn’t confirming via computer that my baggage was found in Philadelphia.

I give Greyhound extremely high marks for the trip for New York City to Indianapolis. It was running 45 minutes behind schedule for a while, but managed to pull in at Indianapolis only six minutes late. Having lived in New York for the past fourteen years, this seemed really trivial for such a long trip. The worst thing about it was totally out of Greyhound’s control, an old woman who smelled as though she had defecated in her pants.

Had Greyhound not lost my baggage, the trip would have come in on my projected budget.

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4 Comments
  1. A friend permalink

    Oh man, that’s such a bummer. Sorry to hear it and my condolences on your mother’s passing. Hope things get better.

  2. Greyhound called me yesterday morning and said that they had “a package” for me that they could not detail over the phone. They took me into the back room where we eventually found my suitcase in the shipping area. Apparently, the reason it hadn’t come with me is because it was taken for shipping, which I certainly didn’t request.

    Then, for the first time, a clerk looked on the computer and said that they’d been storing it for seven days at a cost of $10 a day. I said that this was unacceptable since that was my fourth attempt to claim the bag. Eventually, they processes their documents and let me have the suitcase.

    Now I have too much clothing in my locker, since it won’t all fit in my suitcase (I bought a week’s worth of new underwear and socks and finally got my dress shirts back from Jonathan), so it’s jammed, but I can’t do anything about it until I wash my clothes. I don’t want to put dirty clothes in storage again. (I had dirty clothes in storage at one point, but I washed them when I got my cart back and used the extra detergent at the shelter recently, since they didn’t have single packs at the laundromat.)

  3. But you got them back. Yes?

  4. ok, we wanna post about the forum on Wednesday Sept 6……

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