As we began to board, the gate agent brought a passenger in a wheelchair, down to the aircraft. Clearly he was not feeling well. He assured me he was okay and that he was just rushed this morning and he feels he just needs to eat something. As the agent got him on board and to his seat, I got the gentleman some water and told him I would bring him some chips and something else salty. I was working first class and it got busy because catering come on board and I had a full first class who all wanted a beverage. We completed all of our duties for taking off as we normally do. Once airborne and at cruising altitude, I continue on with my inflight duties.
Suddenly I realized I forgot the gentleman who I promised to bring him a snack. I felt like mud! As I approached his seat, he had no qualms letting me know that he was upset at me too. I listened to him chastise me for a moment (totally acceptable and I deserved it) which led to his personal story of why he was traveling. His father is very sick and not expected to make it through the day. So what was suppose to be a normal day for this man, was a day of tragic news that lead to last minute flights being booked. He started out in Tucson, Arizona driving to Phoenix, headed to Ohio. As I listened to him speak of his father, heard his frustrations of the day, I could clearly see his need. He was truly feeling a mad rush to beat the clock. Knowing he was losing his dad and that he may not get to say goodbye. I felt so helpless. My heart was breaking for this man.
In a world where everything is so politically correct these days, I had no hesitation letting him know I was praying for him, praying for his father and praying that God would bless him to be able to say goodbye to his father. I wanted him to know I genuinely cared for him and was feeling his burdens during this storm in his life. He quickly apologized for his abruptness, I smiled and told him it was nothing to apologize for! It was so understandable given the circumstances and I appreciated him giving me the low down on forgetting him! We both smiled, we held hands for a moment and spoke of great things that God blesses us with on a daily basis. How thankful we all should be…for the simplest, smallest things.
As I walked away, I wanted to do more. I wanted to help. I returned to his seat and offered him a wheelchair once we arrived in Cleveland. I just felt like he needed an usher to get him to baggage claim so he agreed. I called the flight deck and told my first officer the situation and could he have OPS waiting with a wheelchair for him. It was a done deal! Now I don’t know if I will ever see Mr Kline again. He was a blessing to me today. I’ll be praying for him and his family but more so that he was able to say his goodbyes to his father.
So you see, being a flight attendant is more than serving drinks, going from city to city, safety demos and boarding planes. There are so many responsibilities that we have to our passengers. A compassionate heart is certainly a job requirement for this career. The only thing that we, as flight crews have to realize is that once a passenger is off the plane and going about their day, no matter what they shared with us or how much or little we become a part of their lives…the rest is in God’s hands. Wherever you are tonight Mr Kline, may God give you comfort and peace during this time.
Peace, Love & Happiness