Totally none of my business, but are you okay?

Renee SchexnaildreI’m at the DFW airport. Got an unexpected ride here so I’m earlier than usual for my flight. Walking down the corridors humming with life, ruminating about the seminar I just attended. Given my forever involvement with communication, events and the irresistible impulse to make communication more effective, I always ruminate after events. Especially regarding message – were there any interferences between the intent, the conception and the reception of the words?

But I digress. Walking down the corridor toward my gate, a cart driver offered me a ride. But I was only 6 gates away. So I said no thank you. He said – But I want to help you. I said – cue big friendly smile – no, really, thank you. Kept walking.

Humming along, roller bag cooperating, glancing here and there, instinctively people watching, and I spot a female flight attendant, cornered up against a kiosk, looking for emotional safety as she reads something on her phone with tears running down her cheeks. We made momentary eye contact and I didn’t break stride – until about 10 feet past her and then I just had to back up, approach her kind of sideways and say, “Totally none of my business, but are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay, just very sad…” Ow. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “Whatever it is, I’m so sorry. I will go away and say a prayer for you. Whatever it is, know you are not forgotten. You are not forgotten.” She thanked me. I touched her arm gently then went my way, lest I totally creep her out.

So I am saying a prayer for comfort for her, for solutions, for logistics. She probably is in the middle of a shift and will have to go now and smile at all the passengers and try to make their flights pleasant, while inside she is weeping and coping and processing whatever bad news she just got.

You know, we’re all together on this planet… the butterfly effect of the private aches we carry is a cosmic mystery…

In the meanwhile, be kind to your flight attendant.

Oh, and sometimes say no to rides.

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