I had a bit of an adventure at the beginning of February as I tried to get from the airport in Milwaukee, WI to one in Asheville, NC. Delay after delay and an unplanned trip to O’Hare and more delays meant I got to my destination over eight hours later than planned. So much for that part of the conference!
A friend expressed fear that her upcoming trip would have similar challenges. I told her that she should not pray this prayer before she goes: “Who can I bless today?”
Someone I know had an experience where she was able to exude grace while traveling and unbeknownst to her at the time, it deeply touched someone she had interacted with. It was a good reminder that we never know who is out there watching, listening and being impacted by our words and actions.
So I prayed that perhaps in my travels I could be that kind of blessing. God gave me plenty of opportunities to express grace as those around me were not quite as tolerant of the delays and gate changes. It actually stunned me to hear what some people will complain about. I was equally impressed (or not) with the difference in customer service in the face of those challenges. Some were calm and professional and kept a smile, or a sense of humor. Others were cold and indifferent to the impact the delays were having on the passengers who kept getting shoved around a cold airport.
So I smiled often. I complimented when appropriate. I expressed my view that I would rather get on a plane that really DOES fly than one that doesn’t. I met some neat people on the way as well.
So why did God let this happen? I don’t know. Maybe He needed me to be a bright spot in someone’s day. Maybe He was saving me from something worse. Maybe He wanted to test my ability to hold to a positive attitude in difficult circumstances. It really wasn’t a bad day. It was just not quite what I had planned for.
By the time I returned to my car three days later – to find a dead battery, all I could do was laugh. I had one more person to bless as a man came to jump my car in the subzero temps. My knight in shining armor I called him. In reality he was a large black man with metal caps on his teeth and a rusty pickup truck. He was sweet and helpful and got me back home. See there’s good people wherever you go – if you keep your eyes open for them. I suspect two Delta employees were surprised and thrilled to hear how they impressed me because yes, I reported their good deeds.
And one United employee made me laugh. Giving us more information than other had done, he did so with a sense of humor, telling us we were being moved to another gate where we were going to have to walk 500 miles in the frigid cold to get to our plane. We ended up being moved again – but his humor and willingness to be honest about the challenges keep us grounded lightened my spirits. So in honor of him, enjoy this oldie but goodie, “500 Miles.”The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)