Yesterday, I was going through the Minneapolis airport when I encountered an elderly lady looking up at the arrivals/departures board seeming a bit distraught. I overheard her saying to her husband that she had no idea what to do and that the large board was just too overwhelming. I asked her what the issue was and she told me that this was her and her husband’s first time traveling. They were on their way to an Alaska cruise in Seattle and had no idea what to do. I helped her find her flight on the board, determined the gate her flight was leaving from and then saw her to the gate area where her flight would be leaving from. This got me to thinking.
How many things to do we do in our daily routine that just seem normal and natural to us, yet can often be scary and unfamiliar with those that have never experienced it before? We automatically expect that whatever we know, they should know. In reality, we know nothing about their familiarity with the task at hand. I often get frustrated, especially when traveling, because people don’t know how to go through TSA, what to do with the bags, how to move through the line. However, today’s experience reminded me that we aren’t all regular travelers and to some this can be a monumental and scary experience.
This realization pertains not only to travel but every day life. We have become accustomed to the things we do in our daily routines. We do them over and over and most of the time could probably do them in our sleep. However, not everyone has been presented with the same opportunities as we have and that is where a little patience is required. This is especially true when dealing with the elderly.
Yesterday, I could have just minded my business, gone on my way and ignored the situation as not my problem. But that is not in my DNA. My encounter with that elderly couple gave them a little more faith in humanity. I also taught her how to read the board so that she would know what to do on the way back. Hopefully, I gave them a pleasant start to what I hope to be a fantastic vacation for them.
The next time you encounter a situation that makes you uncomfortable or impatient, stop for a second and consider what the other person may be going through. Taking a few extra minutes out of your journey to do a good deed might be just what you need to make your day a little brighter.
Have a great weekend and remember to be the reason someone smiles.