Hoffman's Houston
that's one lucky card

Ken Hoffman on why you should always keep your Costco card handy

Ken Hoffman on why you should always keep your Costco card handy

Costso card
This shopping card comes in really handy in a pinch. Costco/Facebook
Pet of the week - Lola bull terrier
Friendly Lola is our pet of the week.  Photo courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection
Costso card
Pet of the week - Lola bull terrier

I'm all about Costco. I go there practically every weekend to buy more than I'll ever need, like a 55-gallon drum of ketchup, and I don't even like ketchup. I can't pass up — or rationalize — the bargain. And I love, love, love those giant $1.50 hot dogs with unlimited cups of Diet Pepsi.

It's the best lunchtime deal anywhere, anytime, period. So I'm used to my Costco card saving me money.

Last week, my Costco card saved the day.

I flew to Midland for a quick visit on Thursday of last week. The flight went smoothly, We arrived a few minutes early at Midland International Airport. Not sure why they call it Midland International Airport since there are no flights to/from Midland anyplace outside the U.S. It's not my concern.

My return flight to Houston was scheduled for 5:50 pm. Saturday. I got to the airport an hour early, and walked up to the counter for my boarding pass. "I'll need to see your driver's license," the gate agent said. I reached for my wallet, opened the slot on the right side and ...

Where's my driver's license? Let's not panic. Check your pockets. Nope. Maybe I stuck it in the pants I wore when I flew to Midland. There was no one in line behind me, so I opened by bag and dug out my Thursday pants.

No license. I tore through my wallet again. No license. I looked in shirt pockets, opened my laptop, rummaged through the entire bag, clean and dirty laundry. No license.

I don't need this to happen. I need to get back to Houston, and I don't have the one item that I must produce to get on that plane. Obviously I had my license when I left Houston on Thursday. It had to drop out of my wallet in Midland. The only restaurant I visited was Bush's fried chicken joint. (We really need to get a Bush's in Houston. They must quadruple-dip their chicken in breading, it's so thick and crunchy and greasy. In fact, if they could eliminate the chicken altogether, Bush's would shove Chick-fil-A to the back of the line.)

Now I'm at the airport in Midland, all dressed up and I'm stuck with no driver's license. The agent asked, "Do you have some other government-issue ID with your photo on it?"

No I don't. I have a passport, but it's home in my sock drawer. I have a $20 bill, but that's not my photo on it. I have a gift card for a free dozen chocolate chip cookies at Tiff's, no photo.

I started thinking, what are my options? I can't rent a car and drive back to Houston, they'd want my driver's license, too. I could apply online for a replacement license, but the form required my driver's license number ... like I know my driver's license number? The easiest thing might be to click on apartments.com and have Jeff Goldblum find me a nice two-bedroom near Bush's chicken.

I've recently written something for the Midland Reporter-Telegram newspaper, maybe they're hiring. Biggest story while I was in Midland — they're changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School to something less offensive to be decided later.

The agent said, "Why don't you go talk to TSA and see if there's anything they can do. Here's a boarding pass, just in case."

I wasn't optimistic. Security is super tight at airports, TSA doesn't mess around. I told the TSA security person, "I lost my driver's license, but here's my boarding pass. Is there any way you can verify who I am and let me get on the plane?" The agent said, "Do you have any other ID in your wallet?"

I was going to say, "How do you feel about a dozen chocolate chip cookies?" I emptied my wallet, the Tiff's card, a debit card, my key card for work, my Triple A card, etc.

He said, "Let me see that one." It was my Costco card, with a tiny blurry photo of me on the back. He looked at the photo, told me to take off my Astros cap, and called over a couple of other TSA people, including the supervisor on duty. They looked at the Costco card, looked at me, looked at the Costco card again.

The supervisor gave a nod. The agent said, "You're good, have a nice flight."

My Costco card got me on that plane back to Houston! I was never so happy to get onboard.

Except for one small, huge detail: Note to Southwest. While I appreciated your announcement that every passenger must wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose, it might be a good idea, when you stroll down the aisle to check seat belts, also check that everybody wears their face mask properly. And do this several times during the flight. I saw a couple of people near me lower their face masks till they barely covered their chins. They said they couldn't hear each other with masks on. Not cool. Not smart. Not safe. Karens.

Pet of the week

Name: Lola, as in the Kinks' classic rocker "Lola": "I met her in a club down in old Soho where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola." I guess it's better than just watering down their drinks.

Birthdate: July 7, 2018. In the dog world, they call it the "Terrific Twos." Terrible twos are for humans and other lower life forms. 

Ethnicity: I'm a special needs bull terrier mix girly girl. I'm deaf, so I'll need an owner with lots of patience and an extra big, loving heart. Perhaps somebody who's had experience with a deaf pooch. Anyway, I'll never let my lack of hearing stop me. I'm a sweetheart of a dog who loves to cuddle and hang out with my owner (you). I'm an inside dog who is playful and lots of fun.

I weigh 50 pounds which is the perfect size for a friend. We can play tug of war and I'll even let you win, but not all the time. Hey, I got self-esteem, you know. I'm good with children and other pooches, just an overall great companion to share your life. I'm groomed, spayed and checked out A+ by a prominent vet.

Come and get me: If you're interested in bringing me home, drop an email to adoptions@cap4pets.org. Tell them Ken sent you and you'll get the insider treatment.