Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A simple Hello

I tend to lose sight of the gravity and power of my simplest decisions. I think that all too often I am trying to manufacture moments rather than seizing those that are tangibly there, yet for some reason go unrecognized. And, often, they are truly moments. Hesitate, and the opportunity is gone, or claimed by another. The older and more calculated I get the more challenging it becomes to trust my instinct. React rather than deliberate. There is a time and place for all things. When do I need to be pensive? When must I make haste? Wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing. Wisdom is simple. Knowledge is endlessly complex. Yet, the more we know the wiser we can become. Dichotomy? Welcome to the human race.

Anyhoisen, a little over a week ago, I was at the airport in Nice getting ready to make the long trek home to Seattle after a wonderful, exhausting, yet mildly disappointing week on the riviera (I didn't win the competition... nor did i place. But, I am told we are all winners... I was not aware how akin opera competitions are to youth sports in this regard, but i digress). I got my iPod going strong with some remastered Zepplin mixed in with a little magical mystery tour and a fresh bag of french gummi bears and a perrier. I was in my happy place and was not looking for any non-essential human interaction.

But, after about 45 minutes of me time ( I got to the airport soooo early, but the ride was free so I can't complain... plus, better early than late) I noticed a young lady walking around the gate looking a bit like a lost puppy. She looked a bit like the way I felt when I first arrived in Athens back in November 08... Scared, uncertain, lonely, yet trying to look like she had half a clue. This is the kind of scene that I have seen before (forgive the homophone) yet chose to ignore or write off to the responsibility of an unnamed/unseen other. Not a big responsibility. Just decency. A simple hello.

As a seasoned traveler, I know that if i am at the gate more than an hour before the flight is scheduled to board that there is virtually no chance that there will be someone at said gate to answer your questions... My wife will tell you that I am usually not the most observant guy, but I know fear when i see it, and this young lady needed a little help.

"Hello, are you on the flight to London? If so, you are in the right place. The crew will be here shortly." Anyone who knows me understands that this is a paraphrase as my eloquence is generally limited in the present tense. Regardless, long story short, Daniella, my new facebook friend is a 19 year old German student that until that day had never flown before and was heading to a small town in a country she had yet to visit to take a job as an opare (nanny) for a family she had not yet met just after leaving her best friend and family for a period of at least a year... We ended up chatting for the entire time leading up to the flight. She is a sweet girl roughly the same age as my niece Raleigh. If it were her, I would not have hesitated to help. In this case, it took a moment.

Im not trying to toot my own horn. Quite the opposite. I was happy that i could help. I didn't go out of my way at all. My big sacrifice was not listening to the Immigrant song for the umpteenth time. After we parted, I could not think of anything but the multitude of occasions in which I have seen similar events unfold only to sit on my hands and let somebody else (or nobody) deal with it.

I guess the reason i am sharing is to hopefully encourage those that are like me to be open to the moments we can make a difference regardless of how small they may be.

The greatest moment of my life was the day i decided to say hello to the German girl at the airport in Nice.

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