It had been a pretty big day. My sister and I were trying to cram as much of North America as possible into a two week trip, and this particular day spanned three cities, two countries, and nearly 600 kilometres of travel by bus.
At around 8pm we arrived into New York City at the central bus interchange, which is much larger and more confusing than many airports I’ve been in. Looking a little dazed and confused, we were trying to work out where to find the exit when all of a sudden three huge cops stopped us. I’m pretty tall, but these guys towered over us, with stern, no-nonsense expressions. “Got some ID please ladies?”
My sister and I exchanged semi-panicked expressions – what was this? Had we done anything wrong? “Quick,” I hissed, “get the passports!” They were in my backpack – I turned so she could reach it and she immediately began digging for them.
“Where are your parents?” demanded another one of the cops.
“Um,” I said meekly, “Australia? I hope?”
My sister finally found our passports and thrust them at the cops, who inspected them carefully, seeming surprised to be handed these instead of a student card or something. They looked over them in detail, almost as though they expected to find evidence of forgery. Looking up from my passport in surprise after seeing my date of birth, one of the cops exclaimed, “Twenty-one?” (To be fair, I did have my hair in twin plaits that day and in my rainbow hoodie I could have looked much younger than I was.)
“Is everything ok?” we asked, as they handed us back our passports, looking a little sheepish.
“We thought you’d run away from home,” one of the cops admitted, as they turned away. “We get a lot of that around here.”
My sister and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows, trying not to laugh.
Welcome to New York, I guess.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.