I was in the Phoenix airport on New Year’s Eve. I had a short layover on my way from Sacramento back to Chicago. While I was there I noticed that the adorable couple I’d seen in Sacramento was on the same connecting flight to Chicago!
Being the talker that I am, I struck up a conversation and learned that they had spent the same amount of time in California as I had on this trip, but that they were parents visiting their daughter, while I was a daughter visiting my mom and family. They were really cute, and I had noticed in Sacramento that they were part of pre-boarding because the wife had some trouble with walking or something.
This woman’s charming husband was a little anxious about getting into the pre-boarding line for the second leg of the flight, but it would have meant that she would have to stand for longer than she thought she could. So I did the only thing that I thought was logical.
I told him to go get the spot he wanted in line and that I would walk her over when it was actually time to board the plane.
She and I chatted more about the water tours in Chicago that she greatly recommends I look into once the weather is warm again, and then I asked the line that had formed between us and her husband to move while I held her elbow and we walked maybe 30 feet to join her husband in line.
When I got back to my stuff, I noticed that a gentleman who had just gotten into the line crossing my path had an open zipper on his carry-on suitcase. I pointed it out quickly, knowing that I would hate to have an open zipper and all my stuff go flying mid-flight. His wife was really impressed. She thought I was just so sweet, especially since she had seen me help the other woman just a moment ago.
I said, “Thank you,” but I brushed it off.
Just minutes later, I needed a little help getting my carry-on into the overhead compartment. The young man I was about to sit next to had no problem standing and giving the extra couple of inches necessary. I was really grateful. While I totally could have done it myself, it would have taken a few minutes more, so I would have held up everyone behind me. Getting off the plane, I realized there was also a lip in the overhead compartment that prevented me from being able to get my bag out again. (And I’m not even that short!) So I was very glad to have a nice man behind me reach up without any word and gently hand it to me.
I’m not even sure I thanked him properly, which I still feel a little bad about, silly though that may be.
While waiting for our baggage, our carousel changed and I saw that same sweet couple from Sacramento. The wife was in a wheelchair and her husband was pushing her and managing their rolling carry-on. While I’m sure she could have been pushing the carry-on and it would have been easier, it was just as easy for me to say another, “Hello,” and grab the suitcase for him. I moved it all of 15 feet, but they were so grateful.
That’s when it hit me in a way that I could actually put into words.
I said to them, “It’s nothing, sometimes I need a hand and I can’t expect anyone else to lend one if I’m not lending mine where I can.”
I hope that my actions have a bit of a ripple effect. How nice would it be if every time someone was helped by a stranger, they ended up doing two small things for other people? I don’t really expect that to happen, but either way, I think I’ll keep dropping pebbles.