Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Airport Kindness

     I flew to Pittsburgh this evening and three things of note happened along the way.  Let me tell you about them and what I noticed.
     The first thing that happened was that when I first arrived at the airport in Philly, I noticed an older woman sitting in the area where the ticket counters were.  She must have thought I looked like I knew what I was doing because she stopped me and asked if she was allowed to have a water bottle in that part of the airport.  I explained to her how she could have it anywhere, just not as she went through security.  It occurred to me that an airport can feel pretty intimidating when you don't know the routines.  As a matter of fact, so can many other places.  I remember when I first joined the country club to which I belong, my friend who "sponsored" me did a great job of explaining the various unstated rules, routines, and procedures that "regulars" know as if it's second nature.  But when we're new, it can feel overwhelming as we try to avoid doing the "wrong" thing.  It sure is nice when people can anticipate this and take the time to demystify the situation and explain all those little things.
     The second thing that happened was subtle, but I think important.  When we were getting ready to deplane, the woman who was sitting next to me (I was in the window seat) asked if I'd like her to reach my backpack which was stowed in the overhead bin from which she was getting her own things.  I overheard multiple other conversations around me where people were being so helpful to each other and polite as well.  It was another reminder to me that most people really are kind and helpful to each other.  We're so quick to notice, talk about, and complain about the exception, that we fail to notice the kindness that surrounds us everyday.
     The third thing that happened was that I followed up on the commitment I noted the other day with regard to baggage claim.  When I got my bag with no problem, I went into the baggage office and let them know that I was there to report that I had no problem at all.  Once again, the person behind the counter smiled and said he appreciated getting good news for once.  I'll continue to do this as often as possible throughout the year.

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