It was a blue sky day. Flights were running on time, sweet aroma from the coffee shop filled my senses. I was taking in this peaceful moment in the terminal, when a man walked up to our ticket counter and said: ” you lost my leg.” I’ve heard comments similar to: “these baggage fees are going to cost me my shirt,” but all the training in the world couldn’t have prepared me for this. I empathized as he told me he had packed his prosthetic leg in his checked bag and it was no where to be found. He proceeded to lift his pant leg and show me his substitute limb. He was as kind as they come, patient and forgiving as I informed him how we would proceed. Passengers I’ve encountered with disabilities posses an inner calm I have always longed for. These exceptional people have accepted their disadvantages, and choose to bring kindness into the world. They do not harbor bitterness, but most often treat others in a nicer manner than people who have what appears on the outside; everything going for them.
Minutes prior to departure I was paging a missing passenger at the gate, when my eye spied a woman running frantically toward me; like Spain’s running of the bulls. She was carrying 7 items which included: 4 bags, one cooler, a pink fuzzy blanket, and a partially inflated mattress pad. When I told her she could only carry on two items, she got upset and asked what she should do. I told her she would have to consolidate or she couldn’t board the aircraft. Her emotions elevated and she proceeded on a crazy frenzy, dropping articles on the floor left and right, leaving a trail of items following her, like bird crumbs in an animated movie. Just when you think you’ve seen it all…After picking up the abandoned items on my return to the podium, a passenger approached me and told me I handled the situation very well. I thanked him and said: “they don’t teach you that in training”.
One morning a mother and family approached me, manilla folder in hand and a paper towel resting on top. The mother said to me: “my baby just threw up on these boarding passes, do you want them?” What do you say to that?! I reprinted them as quickly as possible, what a fun whiff at that early morning hour.
Working for an airline holds potential for anything to happen, check back soon for part 2!