Friday, April 04, 2008


This morning I flew from Tucson to Dallas.  I mis-remembered my flight time...which was actually a good thing since I was sluggish getting ready this morning anyway.  So with my extra time, I decided to go up to the gate and ask if there were any exit row seats available.

I stood in the little roped off line area so that I could wait for the person in front of me (a 90 year old man) to finish his business with the flight attendant/checker-in-er. :)  It was hard not to overhear their conversation...and as I waited, I found that this was the situation.  The guy was flying from someplace else to Tucson to Dallas and then on to LaGuardia.  Since our flight was going to be delayed, he was going to get in to Dallas too late to get to his connection.  He was concerned because he didn't know if someone was going to pick him up at the airport.  She wanted to confirm him on a later flight...but he never gave the okay to do so because he didn't understand what was happening... or at least didn't clearly understand.

Now, this guy was really worried.  He clearly was concerned and kept saying "I don't know what to do.  I've never been in this situation before."  The American Airlines rep wasn't exactly explaining things clearly and at one point he said, "Maybe I should just not travel because I'm 90 and I'm too old."  She replied that no, that wasn't the case, but I could tell that they were just not communicating.  So I stepped up and asked if I could help - I had a cell phone and a laptop and could call the car company of whomever was supposed to pick him up.  If she didn't have the number, I could look up the name on my laptop but that The stewardess was not happy that I volunteered and indicated that she had tried everything.  

The man said, "I just don't understand why this is happening.  I don't know what to do - I've never been in this situation before and I guess I'm scared."  Long story short, the woman realized that she had to do something and called the number to the travel agency herself.  She confirmed everything back to him and he said, "thanks so much.  Sometimes I'm neurotic and when I get stressed, I just flip!"  He shuffled off to his seat and was pleased - feeling that all was right with the world because he knew what the plan was.  

I'm sure you're wondering what the point of this is.

First, it made me wonder what the heck I'll be faced with when I'm 90.  I don't know what will be going on, but I'm sure I'll be worried too.

Secondly, I found his conversation with the stewardess to be so parallel to my life at times.  Sometimes I find myself totally scared - not knowing what to do, but knowing that I can't stay where I'm at.  I feel alone.  I've never been in that situation before, I don't understand why something is happening, and I don't know what to do.  I get neurotic...and I want to "flip. "

I realized that just because I haven't been in this situation before doesn't mean that there is not a solution out there.  It doesn't mean that no one can help - and it doesn't mean that people don't want to help.  If I can calm myself, breathe, talk to someone who I know wants to help, or even just realize that it will all be okay then it just might be okay.  Just because I don't have the answers that moment, doesn't mean that answers won't present themselves.  Just because the answer is right there with people trying to help me doesn't mean that if I don't realize it, that opportunity is gone for forever.

It was such a human moment... and for some reason, has really stuck with me today.


Jen said...

Hug Ginger and Lisa for me and pat baby Jack TOO!! Hope you girls are having a great time!! Miss all of you!!!


Ford said...

Nice thoughts in your last paragraph there. When things get hairy, and we all know they do (ahem...) we do need to realize that there are people who care. Things have a way of working out when they're supposed to. There. A bucket of sunshine for you this morning. And I didn't even say, "Boring!!" Yet.

McG said...

Gosh darn that's good! There are indeed times when we're ready to flip. There isn't necessarily ever ONE right thing to do, but being afraid to do anything isn't the right answer.