“This can’t be happening.”
I checked my pocket, where I know I had placed the tickets for the Giants-Lions game, but nothing was there.
“Please, please don’t tell me I lost them.”
Trying desperately not to panic, I double checked all of my pockets, then retraced my steps to the restroom. But the tickets were nowhere to be found. It was about an hour before kickoff, and because of my carelessness, my brother and I had no way to get into MetLife Stadium — for the home opener, no less.
I took a deep breath and walked back to the tailgate tent where we had met some friends, and pulled out the Hail Mary.
“Hey, you don’t by any chance have the tickets, do you?” I asked my brother Steve.
The look on his face said it all. He did not, in fact, have the tickets, because he had given them to me.
All hope, however, wasn’t lost. I knew there was one more option. Despite the fact that in many ways the NFL is stuck in the dark ages (for example, relying on human judgement to make game-changing calls, or insisting on mailing paper tickets and parking passes via snail mail), it has embraced technology somewhat. After all, when you enter the gate, your ticked is scanned, not ripped.
So when we put our heads together, we figured that there must be a way to re-issue tickets. But we had to act fast — and we had to call our Dad, the season ticket holder, and explain what had happened.
There was no simply other option.
“Do you want me to call him?” he asked, displaying his typical willingness to take one for the team.
“Nope, I gotta do this,” I said.
And so I bit the bullet and called my father, imagining how the conversation would go:
“Hey Dad! Want to hear something funny? You know those expensive tickets you entrusted me with? Well, I lost them! What a lark.”
As expected, he wasn’t exactly amused. And I don’t blame him one bit. But, being the practical person he is, my Dad got down to business, locating the login and password for the season ticket holder portal, and relaying that information to us. We quickly walked over to will call, where they were able to cancel the original tickets and print out new ones (at a small charge, of course).
I then called my dad to let him know the tickets were in our hands — well, Steve’s hands. And only then did he proceed to chastise me, questioning how on earth I could “misplace” the tickets.
“You know you’re never going to hear the end of this, right?” Steve said, joking about my parents’ tendencies to hold our gaffes over our heads — as is their God-given right.
“Oh I know.”
But I also knew it was the right thing to do — and the only thing to do if we were going to get inside the stadium. As it turned out, the game was a stinker (my Giants still seem to believe we’re in the preseason). But I had a great time with my brother, and we got to relive the glory of Super Bowl 42 during the halftime show (which commemorated the 10th anniversary of the greatest game ever played).
That’s the thing with mistakes — the hardest part is biting the bullet and admitting you screwed up. And it’s not a given that good people will take that step, especially when you have a little devil on your shoulder saying, “What if you don’t say anything? He’ll never know…”
Because sometimes it’s true. Sometimes the person who has been wronged doesn’t even realize it, which can make it all the more difficult to step up. A few years ago, I was doing a phone interview with an IT leader when I realized about 15 minutes in that I had failed to hit record. I had a split second to make a decision, and I opted for honestly. The interview candidate was less than thrilled, as was evident in his terse answers.
I remember cursing myself, thinking, “I shouldn’t have opened my mouth.” I could have just as easily went ahead with the interview, blaming it on a malfunction that was out of my control, and he would’ve been none the wiser.
The problem is that I would’ve known I was being deceitful. And if I have to make the choice between being labeled as a careless person or a liar, I’ll take careless any day. And even though making that call to my dad was about as fun as watching the Giants offensive line in action, I knew he’d help point me in the right direction.
And you know, I think my dad appreciates my honesty. My ability to hold on to tickets? Well, that’s a work in progress.