Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Kindness….when no one is watching

This week I am a guest blogger for my friend Jenny. She is starting Ben’s Bells in Denver. Check them out! Because kindness counts, especially when you don’t know how much it counts.

We have been the recipients of many, many acts of kindness. As soon as we became a family with a medically fragile child, the kindness came pouring in….meals, notes, prayers, thoughts, the world was with us.

And when we lost Samantha, the world mourned with us.

Today, many continue to help us and we are still overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of humankind.

But sometimes the little things make an impact.

I have immersed myself back into the corporate world. Not knowing quite what do to with myself and not wanting to be at home, I am back into a high-pressure, travel filled job. It is quite a change.

And I search for specks of kindness in the world of business travelers.

A couple weeks a ago, I was scheduled to fly to Albany via Chicago and I was late.

I was late to leave the office, the highway was peppered with speed traps and the only place to park was 3 bizillion miles away from the airport and I was wearing 4-inch heels.

I cursed my luck and ran (as best I could) to the airport.

I got stuck in security behind a group of 50 students on a Spring Break trip.

I pleaded my case to an unhelpful TSA agent.

I cursed the clock.

Was it arms and legs? No.

Was it life and death? No. But it was still stressful.

I had 30 minutes to make my flight.

I was taken aside for random screening.

I bit my lip.

When I ran down to catch my train, the doors closed before I could get on.

I cursed my luck.

But then the doors opened and I got on the train. And the doors closed…..

And they opened again…. And closed again….

The train was stuck. I would miss my plane.

And I hummed my mantra “It is not life and death…it is only a plane. It is only a plane.”

The man standing next to me said, “the airport is in slow motion today isn’t it?”

“Oh my goodness!!!” I said and unloaded my story. “I am so afraid I will miss my flight to Chicago.”

“Ah, Chicago. That’s where I’m going. We’ll miss it together.”

As the train moved forward, my luck started to change, I might just make this flight. Me and my new friend ran for the plane where we were the last two to board.

He went onto first class and I went onto battle the gate agents as to why I shouldn’t have to check my small, quite compact bag to Albany.

As my new friend left to first class, I said sarcastically, “think of us poor schmucks in 28C.”

I took my ‘check baggage’ tag and headed down towards the airplane. I had made it. But my hair was plastered to my head in sweat, my feet hurt and I questioned the ability to do the smallest of tasks….like catch a plane.

As I went to hand my bag to the gate agent, the flight attendant poked her head out of the plane, “Ma’am? I think we can fit that in first class.”

Oh thank goodness. I stowed my bag and passed my manager…who was also in first class….humph.

“I barely made this flight.” I said, pushed my sweat-coated bangs out of my eyes and made it back to 28C….right next to the lavatory.


But I had made it.

30 minutes into the flight my manager came back to the hovel of 28C. “You haven’t eaten have you?”

Food? Oh yeah. It was 2:00 and I hadn’t eaten all day. “I think I forgot.” I said.

“I’m not going to eat my lunch, would you like it?”

I nodded and my stomach grumbled.

So five minutes later, a disgruntled flight attendant came back to 28C with a full first-class chicken salad, complete with a cloth napkin and real silver ware. I munched on Italian bread sticks with vigor.

A couple minutes later, an even more disgruntled flight attendant came back with a glass of Chardonnay. Apparently, the new friend who I met on the train felt sorry for me and asked to have a glass of wine be brought back to 28C.

Contentment was a meal next to the lavatory.

And that’s kindness is isn’t it?

It’s easy to be kind when we know our neighbor is in crisis. But what about when we don’t know? Who is our neighbor on the flight to Chicago? Are they going to a funeral? To visit a sick friend? Are they a business person trying to put her life together after the death of her child? Or are they just trying to get to Chicago?

Doesn’t matter…. Kindness counts.

2 thoughts on “Kindness….when no one is watching”

  1. Beautiful post Heather! Don't ya love it when you just breathe through a day like that..good stuff comes. I have read many posts here ..and want to tell you how touched I am by your journey..thank you for sharing this. As a teacher for many years of kiddos with issues and a support system to parents..your blog is wonderful!Yes… let us notice those around us..even those we don't know. Thank you for a beautiful post!Sarah


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