Thursday, August 16, 2018

It's the Little Things

I was walking the dog the other night.  She was walking down the sidewalk, happily sniffing everything.  All of a sudden she saw something on the other side of the street, and pulled me over with her, with great urgency.  I had no idea why.  Then I saw three people walking on the sidewalk.  That is who my dog wanted to see.  She went directly up to them and sat down in front of them, and they stopped walking and looked down to greet this dog, a stranger to them.  The gentleman in the group said to me "How did she know?" and I waited for what was next.  He said "We really needed the love of a dog tonight."  My nature is to ask questions and know what was going on.  But I let it happen, watching the obvious (and much needed) connection between them.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

That got me to thinking about the small things, the little things, that happen every day.  In a world filled with so much conflict and pain, the little things can make all the difference.  Sometimes they are hard to find on an airplane.  The business of boarding, the stress of passengers getting to their seats and the stress on the crew's part of taking care of a million little problems.   But, if you have a minute, and you take the time, those moments are there.  I've been blessed to have many.  I look for them, to be honest.  They are what keep me going day after day, when I would prefer to be at home watching Netflix.  They include the passenger who thanked me for coming to work on a holiday so she could visit her new grandchild. The little 5 year old boy who asked me for my phone number, and then asked if I could come on his vacation with him.  (My favorite!)  The family who was going to a long postponed family reunion.  The refugees coming to America with little but hope in their heart.  The soldiers coming home from overseas.  Graduations, weddings, funerals.   Every single person on that plane has a reason to be there.  It could be exciting or painful.  But to share that with them, like my dog did that night, is special.

One of my favorite stories is an evening flight back to my home.  I'm always happy to be coming home.   It was a late enough flight that most passengers had no connections, were going to this city, going home after a long week.  A calm and a peace was pervasive.  At the boarding door, a woman in a wheelchair got on the plane. I said "How are you tonight?"and asked her where her seat was.  She was concerned because they had given her a seat in the back of the plane and she said "Well, I am 94 years old and I'm worried that it will will take too long to get to my seat and I will make the plane late."  I immediately announced to the group of passengers sitting right there that I needed someone to switch seats with my new friend who needed to to sit near the front of the plane.  On many flights, that simple request will not be honored.  But that night, it was.  A gentleman stood up and said "What is my new seat?" and that was that.  Until later.  My new friend thanked me for my help, and said "You are a day brightener. You are here to make people's days brighter. "  I was visibly touched.  And I replied "As are you."  A little moment.  But not forgotten.  Not ever.