I am continually amazed by the blessings that happen to me and others when I align with my soul purpose. Being aware, awake, and appreciative resonates with my soul purpose.
My airport story begins as I take my shoes off, load the gray buckets with my belongings, and notice an elderly woman in a wheel chair in the line across from me as an attendant helps her remove her shoes and socks. Both of her bare feet were bandaged. I heard a security person yell, “Random Check” just as I was about to push my bags on the silver rollers for a security check. When I realized that the frail, white haired woman in the wheel chair was the one to undergo a search, I watched more closely. An airport attendant leaned over her and told her he would help her stand up. She looked confused but obediently tried to stand up. I watched as she struggled to stand up. Her hands shook. I shuddered, noting that she was about five feet from the walk through security apparatus. Without thinking, I left my line and belongings and said to the security agent,
“Please let me take her place. She is having a hard time even standing up.”
The security agent replied, “This is against airport protocol. Go back to your line.”
I looked at the frail woman, who had returned to her wheel chair and said, “You announced this was a random check, right? So doesn’t that mean you have no reason to suspect that the woman in the wheelchair is a terrorist. I am volunteering to let you search me instead.”
“This is not your choice,” he barked. “I will call my supervisor if you do not return to your line.”
Motivated by kindness and aided by an adrenalin surge, I turned, walked behind the wheelchair and pushed the silent woman to my original lane. The attendant waved her through. I returned to face the supervisor.
“What’s going on here, ma’am?”
“Nothing now,” I said, waving goodbye to the woman in the wheelchair as she left the security area. After I explained my actions, the uniformed supervisor said,
“He was only doing the job he is paid to do.”
I smiled and replied, “I, too, was responding in the only way that made sense to me. That crippled woman might have fallen or panicked if he had forced her to submit to a random search.”
“We train our personnel do things by the book, Ma’am. He was following protocol.”
“I observed that, Sir, and I asked your employee to make an exception based on age, fragility, and the fact that it was a random search.
“I could arrest you,” he warned.
“Yes,” I replied. But in my heart I do not believe I did anything wrong. I guess that is my personal protocol.”
He nodded, uncrossed his arms, and looked around at the people who were watching and listening. I had not noticed anyone but him and his employee. Then he motioned me thorough security. I smiled and said, “Thank You.”
That could have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. When I arrived at my gate and sat down, a ticket agent approached me and asked to see my ticket. Still recovering from my recent stand off, I asked her why. She invited me up to the ticket counter. I feared my previous action meant I was being banned from flying.
Then she asked, “Where is your final destination, please?”
“Why?” I persisted.
“Do you have any layovers?” she continued, as if she, too followed an invisible rule book.
“Can I see your ticket, Ma’am?” she asked.
“As soon as you tell me what this is about,” I said.
“Well. Ma’am apparently some man thinks you are a heroine. He pointed you out to me and paid for your ticket to be upgraded to first class.”
“Who is he?” I asked, looking around the lounge area.
“He’s not here. He had to make a quick connection. He followed you here and used his credit card to upgrade your ticket. He wanted to re-pay your kindness. Happy New Year,” she said and smiled for the first time.
I boarded the plane, took my seat in First Class, and ordered a complimentary glass of wine. Then I toasted the nameless woman in the wheelchair and the anonymous man who rewarded my kindness with kindness.