Today was day three of flying. This four day trip has been full of long duty hours, full flights and often times some trying moments from passengers, with our patience. My crew has been simply AH-MAY-ZING and a lot of fun. We have kept each other going and the chemistry of our humor is just fantastic!
Not everyone is cut from a cloth that makes up the lifestyle and mentality of what we do as crew members. It takes a special person to be a flight attendant. We have many ‘hats’ we wear in the time period of a four day trip. Keeping an upbeat attitude, adapting to ever changing situations and quick thinking is a very important part of what we do. Some days we are so tired from long flights, passengers who are needing extra attention, changing planes, going from gate to gate (with a short time to get there), delays, lack of sleep, needing food, a cup of coffee and the list can go on. For me, all that busy back and forth, here and there, keeps me going. It is like some kind of adrenaline injection for me. I really don’t have the words to describe it.
The one thing that keeps me going the most is often other passengers…especially when I see a great need. On my flight from Chicago to Indianapolis, the gate agent told me we had a wheelchair passenger coming down first. As always, I told her to send them on and I will get them settled. A few moments later, a gentle, kind, elderly man arrived at the aircraft door. I took his bags, placed them in the overhead bin and then we helped him to his seat. He has been flying all day long, from Jordan. He was coming to meet his family here and spend time with them.
Once we arrived in Indianapolis, he was to have a wheelchair ready for him. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He was so ready to get off the plane and see his family. The language barrier between us was a little difficult but he and I managed to use hand signals and get through as much as we could. It was a bit comical at times. I know this because we were both giggling. Finally a wheelchair was at the main cabin entry door. The agent told us that there was no one to take him but she would wheel him up to the gate lobby area. Once our crew stepped off the plane for the night, we walked up to the gate and noticed he was still sitting there. He was frustrated. He said nothing that I could understand but I knew he was anxious and ready to get going. In a quick second, this gentleman hopped up from the wheelchair, grabbed his luggage, along with another piece of luggage and started limping away at a steady pace. He was really cute at his determination! My entire crew kept telling him that we would take him and to have a seat but he was not going to have any part of it. He was on a mission. As for me, I was not going to have him walking himself to baggage claim.
I knew we were all going down to baggage claim area but for crew, we have a van that waits for us to take us to the hotel. My Captain and First Officer headed on down to the van, the other Flight Attendant took my bags for me, I took a hold of the gentleman’s bags and he latched on to my hand. There we were, walking through the Indy airport, hand in hand…two strangers on a mission. For him, it was to meet his family for which I knew he must of been more than excited. He had been flying and traveling for thirteen hours. For me, it was to make sure he met them safely and with guidance knowing someone cared for him enough to get him to his family. My heart would not allow me to let him walk alone and much less with those bags. I wanted to be there for him. I never knew my grandfathers…they all passed before I was born so this was sort of special to me.
We reach baggage claim and I learned he had one more large piece of luggage coming around on the carousel. I still could not leave this man until I knew all was well so we waited along with all the other passengers to assist this gentleman. We kept looking for a family member to come around. Finally! The elderly man was reunited with his grandson who had come to pick him up from the airport! I teared up watching them embrace, their smiles and the welcome hugs. It was a beautiful thing to stand back and watch. My passenger was happy, he was smiling and he was very appreciative to the help we gave him, as well as his grandson.
I loved everything about that moment…watching them reunite. Of course, I got a photo with this sweet and kind gentleman. I don’t know his name…I never got around to asking what it was and I had already thrown away my passenger manifest list. I just knew he was someone in need and I needed to help him. We hugged and he gave me a little kiss on the cheek…lol. He was just precious!
As I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder why we, as human beings allow race, color, religion and any other things to separate us from the basics of humanity. It cost nothing to be kind, to be helpful and to show love. These are the things I am really passionate about in life. We don’t have to be of the same things in life to be understanding of love and compassion for one another. For a brief moment, I was able to connect with a total stranger, to be part of a special family moment and now I can share that moment with you.
I love my job as a flight attendant and it is more to me than just being able to travel. It is about me making a difference in someone’s life no matter how big, how small or how brief. Sometimes, it is the smallest and kindest of gestures that can make someone feel like a million bucks! May you all take away with you the love and compassion we are meant to share. Please, by all means share that with a stranger. You never know how much you will be blessed.
Love, Peace & Hugs