Monday, April 28, 2008


This post is not meant to be critical. An old Sergeant of mine used to say, "Son, ain't nobody born knowing this stuff" which if nothing else should tell you that good grammar is not required to espouse wisdom. :)

Any way, I got on the Southwest Jet this morning and this couple sat next to me. Upper 40's lower 50's perhaps.

So they settled in next to me and the conversation started something like, "Ok honey, we have to turn our cell phones off now."
"I don’t know, I just saw on TV that you have to turn them off on planes."
"Well I can't imagine why"
After maybe 30 seconds of this I just offered to them, "Yes, you have to turn them off but they will tell you when you have to."

They were typical white knucklers, every whine creak or bang would elicit a startle. So I quickly got to where I had a running commentary going without even looking up from my magazine, "Baggage bay door closing- Flaps coming down to take off position - Ok here we go, I LOVE take off! Aint that fun!" (Seriously, 100,000 pounds of machinery accelerating to 140 mph in less than a mile is awe-inspiring even if it never left the ground!)

After we leveled off I dozed off till we were close to the ground again. So far this couple has not really been out of touch just a little a white knuckley and unsure of them selves but here is where it got fun...

Once on the ground at St. Louis they announced that if you were going on to Omaha then please remain seated until they get a count of through passengers then you can change seats or go to the rest room if you want.
The man asked me what that meant. So I explained with a few more words.
So he asked, "Are we in Cleveland?"
"Nope, Saint Louis."
"But this plane is going to Omaha next?"
"That is what he said."
"So how do we get to Cleveland?"
Wow. Moment of stunned silence while I grasped the depths of his ignorance! (Which should never be confused with stupidity!) "Uh, well I imagine you get off here and catch another plane to Cleveland but we should check with the FA to make sure this one is not going to Cleveland after Omaha."
Now just a bit panicky, the man said, "Oh my! How do we get on another plane; they already took our tickets!" Before I could answer the woman chimed in, "How in the world do we find this other plane?"

Now I do remember the wise old sergeant's words but sometimes it just amazes me how much we absolutely take for granted in life. How much knowledge we carry about in our heads that is a complete mystery to otherwise normal reasonably intelligent people.

Instead of lecturing I told them to stick with me and I would show them what to do.

So instead of giving them a fish I took 5 whole minutes and showed them the monitors with arrivals and departs showed them how to find their gate by city name. Then I pointed out to them all the signage along the roof. I explained how the designers know most people will be stangers in this building and wont know where anything is so there are lots of signs that will almost always tell you anything you want to know if look long enough.

So after looking up their flight (thank god there was only ONE flight to Cleveland this morning!) I walked them to gate 10 and explained how to get a boarding pass (ticket) for the next leg.

Man you would have thought I had just given their dying son a kidney! I got a huge hug and a kiss and a good stiff handshake. Thankfully, the hug and kiss was from her and not the big lug.

So the whole thing kind of leaves me with a sense of wonder. Such a small and minuscule thing, to explain signage and walk them to their gate- Five minutes out of the span of my life is an absolute nothingness in my overall existence yet it meant so very much to two scared and confused people.

It really does amaze me. So small, so meaningless, yet so much.


Melissa said...

That's because very few people would take the time or make the effort to help someone who was slightly confused.

Good on ya for making the extra effort. You probably have no idea just how much you helped that couple. Or how much easier you made their morning.

Robin said...

Aaaah, you are a nice guy.

Don't worry your secret is safe with us.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

A random act of kindness can really change someone's day for the better. Good for you!

Jen said...

I agree with melissa. Most folks wouldn't have taken the time. They would have rushed off into their existence never giving that couple a second thought. Kudos to you for being a stand up guy.

BTW, I lived in Cleveland for two years so it's no surprise to me that's where they were headed! :)

tammy said...

You are so nice! It only took you a few minutes to help them in a big way. I wish more people were like that. (I think you just earned more points in heaven towards that whole while you were a teenager thing, but you may wanna still keep clear of the ol' Pizza Hut anyway).

I had to go run and check my hubby's schedule to see if he happened to be your pilot, but he wasn't.

SuperCoolMom said...

You must always use your power for good, not evil, Grasshopper.

Taj said...

I always knew a good guy lurked beneath that hard Alpha Geek persona.

Your simple act of kindness was a wonderful thing.

House of Jules said...

I totally want to make out with you right now.
House of Jules

Crazymamaof6 said...

gold star for you! for being a nice helpful kinda guy.

Kat said...

That was sweet of you. It amazes me that some people muster up the courage to go travelling when they clearly have never been in an airport or an aircraft before.

Thankfully there are people like you who take them by the hand and guide them. That was a really kind thing to do.

Melek said...

first, i can't believe there are ppl in america in their late 40s or so who haven't been in an airport before. baffling. and second, you're awesome. such a good thing you did. see how that 5 minutes totally made a difference in someone's day...not to mention probably totally saving their entire trip. very kind of you. be on the lookout for your good karma payback, i'm sure it's comin'. :)

Beth said...

awwww...You're a Good Guy! helping out old people who don't know how to read...

really, I wish you were with me when I fly....I always get so nervous....

random acts of kindness just might get you into Heaven! ;)

Sauntering Soul said...

You are one super wonderful guy! Way to go you!

This actually inspires me to perform a random act of kindness. However, you may remember the last time I did that I ended up having to put my hands down a random old lady's pants to untangle her lacy undies from her zipper. I'm not sure I'm up for something like that again.

Anonymous said...

LMAO at Sauntering Soul's comment!

Not only was it nice of you to help those people, but you probably helped everyone in the airport including yourself by preventing a little bit of chaos.
I hope you're around to save me next time I take a plane. I'm not a white-knuckler on planes (just on boats) but I don't have much sense of direction. : /
People like me totally appreciate people like you.


tammy said...

I'm totally LOL at Sauntering's comment too!

Andie said...

Trust me, do I ever understand. I know so many people who are regularly amazed by my internet and google skills.

blows me away.

CallSignEcho said...

That was touching! Southern hospitality does still exist.

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

Well, I am two days behind on posting because Blogger has locked my account for suspected spam! Since other people commented today I assume I can as well.

How rare is it that I have blog topics without struggling? Now I can't post them! ARGH!

Anyone else ever have this happen?

To All: I can admit it- I am a natural show off - I always have been. Beth has called me on it before! :)

However, this post really was not meant to be a "show off post". What I did was absolutely nothing! Completely insignificant - I think that is why it was memorable; it was nothing and yet something.

I kind of get a nerdy little thrill at life’s little ironies like that one.

Crazymamaof6 said...

ok on the locked out blogger spam thing. i got that last year when i was commenting all over the freaking blogosphere, and it added word verification to everything i did. but i have no idea why you'd get tagged for that though, since you never freaking comment anymore.HMM
that leaves me wondering if you just don't make it to mine? or you don't have anything to say on my particular
posts. hmmm. should i be offended? or is it something else?

SuperCoolMom said...

My blogfriend, Chrissy, started a brand new blog and they jacked it right off as being spam - huge PITA.

Tanya said...

Its good to know you're not always pulling shenanigans like holding airplanes hostage. Why did you land in the Lou? Is that the closest to IL that you can get?