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.