Five Minute Friday- Mercy
Today, I found myself in an airport after about 3 hours of fitful sleep. You know, the kind you get when you know you can’t afford to oversleep for fear of missing your flight and spending another night in an unfamiliar hotel room. So there I was, bleary-eyed trying to convince my head to stay upright on my neck during the 20-minute drive to the airport.
Four-Thirty AM, I made it with an 1 1/2 hours to spare…whew.
After a fiasco with my rental car, I got to the departure gate and tried my best to get comfortable. I’m not sure it’s possible to sleep in an airport chair, while also doing your best to not be a target of theft; but I gave it my best effort. Between nods, I’d watch CNN…terrible New Jersey fire, the entire Boardwalk could be destroyed (nod)…floods in Colorado, 5 dead (nod)–teen sentenced for killing a toddler (nod)… women pushes newlywed of one week off cliff (nod)…
At some point, my need for sleep overtook me, till I was somehow jostled by an announcement “Last call for A3 going to Washington DC.” I looked up, realized no one was moving and thought– Huh? I rubbed my eyes, stood up and realized, the digital readout on my Gate now said something else, I don’t even remember what; but it wasn’t my city…Washington DC.
I quickly grabbed my wayward bags and started into a quick walk. In divine order, I saw a few flight attendants coming my way “Where is A3?” “Oh, it’s all the way up this corridor, past security, make a right. It’s at the end of that hall.”
With panic as my only source of energy, I ran. I can only imagine the sight. With coordination at zero, I was hauling my pullman and carry-on bag by my left hand and my wayward purse in the right. For sure, it had the same level of grace as a mother trying to get somewhere with an unwilling child who is doing a “rag doll imitation” in one hand and balancing a crying infant on the hip of the other. I moved as quick as I could, despite my exhaustion, and somehow made it to the gate. Out of breath and frantic, the gate attendant well-coiffed and well-spoken, took my boarding pass. For the moment, all seemed okay.
I was quickly reminded that being last, is rarely best.
I boarded the plane, found my seat and noticed both overheads near me had no space for my pullman luggage. With all the social grace I could muster; I took a deep breath and a chance…”Sir, would you mind moving your luggage (a small knapsack) to this other side so I could put my luggage up?” Now, I should tell you this was a big, older, serious looking guy. I presume, the no-nonsense type that probably would think it ridiculous for me to ask him. After all, I was late and his luggage was in the overhead designated for his seat. When he looked up at me, he looked even larger and a bit intimidating.
Without a word, he stood up, moved his knapsack and a suit jacket which he methodically folded over the knapsack. Still with no words spoken, he leaned down and gently put my luggage in the overhead. Every move he made had the absence of malice, and at the same time no signs of hospitality. “Oh. Thank you. Thank you.” is about all I could get out of my frazzled, sleep-deprived mind.
In a world of fires, floods, murder and turmoil; It’s wonderful to be an occasional recipient of everyday mercy.