A few months ago, I went out of town for a funeral. I stuffed a backpack and was gone for exactly 19 hours. I flew into Calgary, partook in the service and was straight on my way back to the airport only to run into a problem. The WestJet employee told me my flight wasn’t scheduled until the next day and the travel agent must have made a mistake during booking.
And then I started crying. I’m not usually one to cry but I am also never one to hold back my tears. Through my tears and broken voice, I asked him if there were any chance he could get me on a flight that same night because:
I had to be home for work the next morning
and I just came from a funeral
and the afternoon I had just broke my heart
and I was really tired
He turned to me and said no miss, I’m so sorry I can’t get you home before tomorrow afternoon. It’s just not possible.
I said okay and that I understood, but I could not stop crying.
He handed me a tissue, which for some reason made me cry even more.
He apologized and said how sorry he was for the loss. And I said thank you sir and I’m sorry I’m crying so much,
I just want to go home.
I just really want to go home.
We both stood there in silence. In sadness. He turned around and made some phone call. I thought he was getting me a food voucher or something and instead he quickly hung up, typed something into his computer, printed what looked like a boarding pass and grabbed my hand.
All he said was come with me, keep up, and run.
He got me through some back door and I literally had this out of body experience watching myself run through security and then with him into this little airport golf cart. He told me to hold on to my seat as he literally Tokyo drifted me to the furthest possible gate in the airport. He said, "...your flight to Toronto is leaving in less than five minutes. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I hope you get home safe."
Literally shaking in disbelief, I started crying…AGAIN. He put me in line and turned to leave and I asked him if I could hug him. And I thanked him…so so much…and he said, "it’s okay, don’t worry it’s okay, it will all be okay." And just like that, this superhero stranger had left and I was boarding my flight.
I realized I didn’t get his name so I asked the lady scanning my boarding pass who that man was so I could write an amazing review to WestJet about their angel employee. She told me that she was the lady he called a few minutes before and didn’t want to give me his name because he could lose his job for breaking a ton of rules to get me to that gate. I thanked her too and got on my way home.
Since that day, every single time I feel saddened by humanity, I remember him. Every time I turn on CNN and hear about a shooting or a presidential scandal of some sort, I remember this WestJet guy who got me home. And yes, there are people like Donald Trump. There are people who load up guns and shoot children in schools, there are rapists and killers and people who think shooting animals in the woods is a “fun sport”. I cannot relate or will not excuse these behaviors but I do not think that these people are in essence much different than I am. I think the difference between (what we like to judge people with labels) good or bad, is a difference in connection. I think the menaces of society are disconnected from their truth, their nature, that of love. They are disconnected. They are lost, and they just lost the truth.
I was nobody to him. A complete stranger. He almost lost his job to make a complete stranger feel better. And if that isn’t a miracle I don’t know what is.
I have noticed one pretty special thing about human nature in that it is always in our instincts to help others. When you see someone trip, your first instinct is to reach out a hand and help catch them. When you see a tiny human walking in a mall by themselves you more than likely won’t walk by without making sure they have someone watching them nearby. You honk your horn when you see two cars merging into one lane. Does your heart melt a little when you see a dog sitting in a car by itself in the summer with the windows barely open? This is your human heart pulling you to help.
It is deeply embedded in our nature to be loving, kind and compassionate towards each other. It is in our nature to love and care for one another. It just is. And let’s be clear about something. To anyone reading this right now, I am willing to wager that if someone sitting next to you on the subway or in a coffee shop or even someone you know from your past asked you for help; you would help. I bet if I said that I needed you, you would show up for me – as I know I would for you. Because this is who we are, truly. And it doesn’t have to be some grand gesture like someone risking their job to get me on a flight home. It’s offering directions to someone who doesn’t know where they are going. Holding a door open for anyone and telling them to take their time when they start their little run. It can be a smile to someone walking towards you. These are miracle moments we need to watch out for because the more we are conscious of them, the more they take place. I swear.
Now, can we take a moment to celebrate the fact that if you look around, there’s going to be someone nearby with a shoulder and a tissue for you to cry on? Can we smile about the fact that really, truly, we are one in the same, in the most important way.