It was wonderful Friday when I came back early from work to finalize to pack our luggage. Our flight was supposed to be at 17.30 while we left home around 14.15. The road to Frankfurt lasts about an hour, therefore, 3 hours should have been enough even for some traffic jams. However, it is not the case when 5 passenger cars are crashing in authobahn (road term in Germany which usually has high speed limits or no speed limits at all). Luckily, this accident didn’t happen to us, nevertheless, it made us to delay very much to our flight.
Initially we supposed to park our car near Frankfurt airport in free parking place and take a bus to our terminal. However, as we really got stuck in traffic jam for a long time, we decided that fuck it, we go to the airport directly and park our car over there. Even it will cost us around 140 euros per week it is still better than to miss the flights. Decision was made and we started to drive towards the airport when we suddenly realized that, wait a minute, our friend Asif lives nearby, so theoretically, we could leave our car in airport parking, hide the keys, and he could come and take it. Of course, legally it meant that we are losing all our insurance. If car gets stolen, we won’t get anything. However, although this caused us a great concern, we decided to take the risk.
I parked the car at the airport, took photos of parking place and sent them to Asif. While Asif was already on his way, we had 20 minutes left to our flight. We started to run by taking everything what we saw that is left in the car with us and went towards security check. Although I had a drone in my hand luggage I did not take it out as we were in a hurry. What I did, I put my passport and home keys into my wife’s hand luggage because it was the first thing what appeared in front of my while I took them out. Passing the security smoothly, we started to run towards our gate which was in about 15 minutes walk. Luckily, wizzair was delaying as always and we reached the bus that was taking passengers to the plane.
If you have been in Frankfurt then you may know that sometimes bus drives 15 minutes until it reaches the plane. So, during those 15 minutes, while I took a short break, I realized that oh my goodness, I forgot my residence permit of Germany in my car. This means, if I leave the country now, I won’t be able to come back.
I turned softly to Aysel and said:
I must say she seemed rather very disappointed and you could see even some tears in her eyes. It was very difficult to witness how she is slowly losing hope. In order to bring it to abrupt, I made it clear to her once again that I promise, that I will be there, yet I did not know what was waiting me there.
After leaving the bus, I said to the airport stuff that I am not able to fly since I have forgotten my residence permit. The first word that I heard was “scheisse!”. This means shit, in German. That was because the man who was responsible for this had to order separate bus for me since all busses usually have their appointed schedule when to come and when to go for each single arrival and departure. As a matter of fact, it is not a place where busses are driving to pick up people who are left somewhere.
We hardly said goodbye and giving Aysel’s hand luggage I went to sit inside of operational car. Within the next 20 minutes, bus came and thanking the airport stuff for all very kind support I proceeded further. It was very weird feeling because I was alone inside of the bus, though we were having very nice conversation with the driver. I briefly told him my story and we exchanged very common opinions about my situation, so to say, this kind of things are happening and the money that I will spend on additional ticket will come and go perhaps ten thousand times (I hope they will). Therefore, if you cannot change anything, there is also no need to worry, it won’t simply help.
I left the bus and entered the airport when I realized that oh my goodness, I have left my passport in Aysel’s luggage, whereas now I must enter the country back. Which means that I am literally without documents. My residence permit is in my car, while my passport is in my wife’s luggage which is already gone. It felt completely similar to the movie that great director Steven Spielberg made, so called Terminal. A man without documents, somehow in the border, yet cannot enter the country.
I had only one option left – to tell everything to Bundespolizei – German Federal Police. I do not know how in your country, but in my country, you never want to deal with police. In fact, even if you have already trouble, police may put you into even more trouble. Therefore, you will be right to assume that the idea to go to Bundespolizei was rather scaring to me, yet it was the only option to enter the country back. However, I must admit that the German Police has been always very kind to me in any occasions, though I almost never really dealt with them.
I told the situation sincerely to police officers to what they laughed. The officer that was serving me called his boss and reported that he checked my data in the system and all seems to be fine. I am allowed to live in Germany and never committed any crime or whatsoever. Moreover, officers were so kind to me that they even tried to find a solution to my problem. They suggested that I go back to my car, take my residence permit, and return to police office at the airport where I could get so called “Travel Emergency Document” from Federal Police.
Sincerely being grateful to them, I went to my car, to the parking spot where I left it. I must say that I didn’t find my car immediately at the place where I left which caused me some strong adrenalin through my heart thinking that someone has already stolen it. But it was there. I took my documents and went back immediately to police station. Although there were different officers, they were as kind as previous ones by sincerely trying to help and cheer me up. I paid about 18 euros for that Travel Emergency Document. Officers made it clear to me that this document neither replaces my passport nor guarantees me that other countries will accept it. However, it is surely better than nothing. At the end of the day, it ensures that I have not committed any crime in Germany and I am not trying to escape the country.
I took my documents and bought the ticket via Adria Airways to the next morning at 10 a.m. Since it was around 9 p.m. by that time, I decided to drive back home, get a proper sleep, print the check in document and come back energized. I drove back home which took me about an hour and realized that actually my home keys are also left in my wife’s luggage. Bad luck kept following me. I called my brother and asked if I could overnight at his place. After getting a confirmation, I drove to his place and talking shortly about the things that happened, I went to sleep.
Meantime, Aysel was already in Budapest heading towards Podgorica. We were keeping in touch and she was even trying to pass the passport control without passport in order to see how strictly everything is. To her disappointment, she had to show her passport. This was also giving us additional pressure thinking if my travel emergency document works.
Unfortunately, I could not take my sleep very properly and waking up at around 5 a.m. I drove towards airport. Leaving my car in free parking place, taking bus, I reached the terminal around 7 a.m. Due to the lack of sleep and all other concerns, I forgot to take all my electronic devices out of my hand luggage. As a photographer, you may imagine, I have a few more things to carry than average person usually does.
I was already on another side of security check when I saw that responsible person for security stopped my luggage and called colleague for an advice. After having a short talk, I only heard the colleague telling him “ok, I will call them”. Them whom?!
The answer did not force me to wait long, and I saw two police officers with heavy rifles coming towards us. They asked me to take a sit, where one of the officers got exclusively assigned to me while another one was discussing the matter with airport stuff. After having a short dialogue, they decided to close my line of security check completely asking other people to move their stuff to another line.
Second police officer was checking X-Ray monitors with airport security stuff very carefully. Although I was sitting far away from the place where they were discussing my luggage, I saw that officer nodded to airport security and told something to portable radio. Afterwards, he came to me and asked my documents. The only things that I had were my residence permit and travel emergency document. He got surprised when he saw that I do not have my passport, and although I believed that it would add even more conspiracy to the whole situation, the police officer did not react any differently but believing me sincerely assured that this kind of things are happening all the time and said that I should not worry. Being motivated by kind discussion, I continued:
It means more police officers are coming. This caused me a great embarrassment. I am sitting on the chair, there is police officer assigned to me with a huge rifle, next second lines to left and to right are closed, people have been moved far away, the police holding my documents and more are already on their way.
Within a few minutes, higher ranked police officer came with four additional police officers. All of them have rifles and I keep telling to everyone my story. Despite to all situation, I am receiving extremely kind attitude from Bundespolizei which makes me to feel even more embarrassed.
After checking security x-ray monitors, higher ranked officer turned to security members and said that he cannot decide on this matter, therefore, he needs to call special forces. What?! Will it ever end?! Now special forces?! But why?! That’s just a drone inside.. Now you can imagine me, sitting on the chair, 6-7 federal police officers are around, all nearby lines are cut, and special forces are coming.
It took another couple of minutes for special forces to appear. Although it took them about 20 minutes to investigate my luggage, this time I was early enough in airport to allow myself to wait. But in any case, you should not chase police officers by any means. Instead, if it’s your fault, then it is better to accept it sincerely. After investigating my luggage, they called me to come. Even I knew that I have only a drone in my luggage, all situation was so seriously taken by police that I thought they will give me a very strong warning note for my misbehaviour if not to jail me four couple of hours. However, when I got there they simply told me that all is fine, nothing has been damaged, everything has been checked and they are deeply sorry for all problems they caused. To receive apologies from them, was the last thing that I expected which made me to feel very ashamed. I also apologized on return to what they said that there is no need to apologize and it is simply their work to go through all procedures.
Having a short kind dialogue, I packed my stuff back and headed towards Ljubljana. In the meantime, Aysel has already communicated my problem in Podgorica with police and they told her that if I manage to come to Montenegro borders, they will let me in.
I had two more concerns left:
Although we were in time as planned according to schedule inside of the plane, it was not taking off but going through some double control procedures. Cabin crew started to count people all over again. At the end, a police officer came on board. The day was not ending. After checking the list of passengers, they said that there is one more passenger on board. You can imagine how I felt that time. To my surprise, it was not me and they asked a man sitting on the back side to leave the plane. I do not know how they found/picked him, but they simply did it.
We reached Ljubljana with 10 minutes delay. However, I was relatively calm since cabin crew informed me that there is actually no pass control for transit flight and connection flight will definitely wait me because it is very common here. However, the first was not the case, and there was passport control. Everyone had to pass through it. After a while, my turn came, and I gave my travel emergency document to the police officer. Although they asked for a passport, I told them that I have forgot it in my wife’s luggage and she is currently waiting me with it in Podgorica. I also showed them my Podgorica ticket. After having a careful look to my emergency document, they let me in. Yuhuu!
The most difficult things are left behind. I wrote it immediately to Aysel who was already waiting me in Podgorica. I arrived to Podgorica on time and when I told my story to passport control, they said:
They went back to Aysel taking my passport from her and bringing it back. I got my stamp and entered the country. We made it! When I look now behind, it all sounds very crazy to me but we really made it. Besides so many things we made it! And I want to thank you German Federal Police for your kind and nice support as well as all police officers who helped us to make it through.