Friday, March 17, 2006

This Is Your Ben On Drugs

Two years ago, while returning to Charlottesville from DC aboard Greyhound (before I promised to go miles in debt before riding Greyhound ever again) I was pulled off the bus in Springfield, VA to have my bags searched for drugs. I assume the search was random, but it's possible the agents mistook my usual apprehension at riding Greyhound as evidence that I had something to hide.

It first appeared that the agents--dressed in plain-clothes--were simply new passengers boarding the bus. But after they paced the aisle several times, it became clear that they were looking for something else. Finally, they stopped at my seat and requested that I step off the bus with my bags so that they could search them. Always a docile subject, I readily consented; in hindsight, though, I wonder what would have transpired had I said no. My fear at the time was that while I might been within my rights to refuse the search, the agents might have been within their rights to detain me and cause me to miss my departure.

Hilariously, when I reboarded the bus, several passengers asked me what the agents were looking for. When I responded, "drugs," one woman responded, "Shit, I'm glad they didn't pick me." No word on what narcotics--or what else--she was packing, but suffice it to say--based on the amen chorus that followed her comment--that had the agents performed a sweep, rather than a random search, they might have had to build a new jail in Springfield, Virginia.


Blogger Evan said...

Well, they certainly didn't search anyone on my ride from Charlottesville to DC 3 years ago, when I was traveling up to Baltimore via Union Station. I was seated by myself, with a large, suspicious bag next to me, with a bunch of people eyeing the bag throughout the ride. These people didn't speak English (rather, they spoke Spanish)...and to me, there was obviously something suspicious in their "precious" bag. Go Greyhound!

I'll fly anyday before boarding another Greyhound...unless the fare is a ton cheaper...which it would be (at least on Peter Pan) up in the Northeast. One of these days I'll report back with stories, for sure.

10:18 PM  

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