A note from Lisa: Hey FrontLine Moms, we had quite a time getting Kalyn into and out of Canada last week. I asked her to tell you about it. Here’s part I:
Okay, so I must precede this story with a statement: I really meant to have my name changed on my passport. There! I made my defense!
But…amidst newlywed bliss, a busy travel schedule, the holiday season, and most recently, morning sickness of a new pregnancy, I forgot. That is, until the day before my mom and I were to depart for Canada (where a passport is now required) for TV interviews on “It’s a New Day” ministry station.
Well, too late now. I would just have to take my passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, and marriage license in hopes that I could prove my newly married identity. With a slight uneasiness, I packed my life’s worth of official documents into the 3-ring binder my loving (and slightly concerned) husband, Adam, had so carefully labeled “Important Document Folder – Kalyn W.”
This could not be good. I figured the less I had to pull out all my documents and try to explain why all my IDs don’t match, the better. Apparently, if your final destination is out of the country, they check you right off the bat!
Well, the first stop proved easier than expected. I handed the attendant my boarding pass and passport, and said, “I recently got married, would you like to see another form of ID?” To my surprise, she smiled, said, “I believe you,” and I headed onto the plane. Something told me the next stops might not be so simple!
After a long day of delays and flight cancellations we finally held in our hands actual boarding passes for a flight into Winnipeg, Canada. Except for the fact that the plane was going to be too heavy and many people were not going to make it onto the flight, I would have waited to the end of the boarding line to present my case. But, I didn’t want bumped from my seat, so I plunged in.
Approaching the boarding gate with all my luggage and my large binder of life information, I thought for a moment I had lost one of my very important pieces. This led to a frantic search, which, subsequently, tore the pocket holding my treasures. (Sorry Adam!) No worries though, I located my driver’s license and jumped into my explanation. The kind attendant explained, “Ma’am, I think that will work, but I’ll need to call my manager. Could you please stand over here?” Meanwhile, mom had already walked through the checkpoint, but was waiting for me to proceed onto the plane. “You better just go ahead, mom,” I concluded. “I’m not sure this is going to work. You go do the interviews, I’ll take the buyout deal offered by the airline for bumping off this flight and I’ll meet you back at the airport tomorrow.”
Her horrified look and “No, I can’t go by myself,” meant two of us were now holding up the process. Well, the manager arrived, heard my story and said, “Yes, you’ll be fine to get in since you have your marriage license.”
Hooray! I walked onto the plane and claimed my seat with relief. No sooner had I settled in and gushed to the passenger next to me how glad I was to finally be making a connecting flight after so many delays, did the same two employees who checked my story (donned in trench coats) rush onto the plane and start scanning the passengers.
Uh oh, something in the pit of my stomach knew they were looking for me. Sure enough, over the intercom came loud and clear something to the effect of, “Could the girl with the marriage license because she has the wrong name on her passport please hit the call button.” As other passengers snickered, I took a deep breath, reached up, and pressed the button. Rushing down the aisle with a clipboard they informed me they had called ahead to customs and I would have no problem getting into Canada since they would never know what name I flew under. Hey! Now we were thinking alike.
But there was a hitch. “You will not be allowed to fly back into the US until you change your name on the returning ticket.” That sounded difficult, considering the fact that our return flight was only 18 hours away. But, they assured me it would be no problem, scribbled down a number for me to call, and we were off. Right before they announced that cell phones had to be turned off I called my big brother, Nathan, gave him the number and asked him to see what he could find out.
Upon arrival in Canada, I made it in (See story in part 2 coming soon) as Kalyn Cherry. Via text, Nathan informed me that he had spoken with government officials in Canada and the US and informed them of my name change. Delta, he let me know, might not have it changed, but the officials assured him I would have no problems.
Mom and I could hardly stop laughing to finally go to sleep in our Canadian Holiday Inn. How can a person possibly call in for someone else, change their name in the flight system, and everything be okay? If it is true, that is very strange. You can’t fly with a bottle of hand sanitizer, but a third party can change your name with officials 18 hours before a flight!
Well, we completed our brief trip and were back at the airport early in case there were problems. After a headshake by the front desk employee and a call with no success to the helpline, all we could do was give customs a try.
The US border guard immediately put my mind at ease saying, “Ma’am, you will never have a problem getting back home because you are a US citizen.” Oh what beautiful words! I felt my heart swell with national pride as the guard exclaimed, “Why, look at this! When I type in “Waller” all of your passport information under “Cherry” comes up on my computer! I wonder how that linked. I have never seen that before!”
I smiled as I realized that either God had done a creative miracle or my big brother really had convinced authorities to link my name in the system! Either way, God came through big!
I have, however, taken to heart Proverbs 21:5 which says,
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”
I plan to be better prepared in the future!
Connect with Kalyn Cherry Waller at her blog, NoSecretsNow.com