October 9, 2008

A delayed flight gives me a little perspective

We arrived at the airport just over an hour early for our flight to Pennsylvania via Chicago. When we stepped up to the kiosk to check in, we found that our first flight had been delayed for over two hours, meaning we would miss our connecting flight. So, we headed over to the customer service line to wait for an agent to help us find a different flight.

There were about 10 people in front of us in line, and only one agent. Because of all of the rescheduling they were doing, each customer was taking a significant amount of time. We were worried. Would we have to leave the airport? Would our trip be cut short? Would we have to arrive at 4 in the morning and really inconvenience someone by making them pick us up at such a crazy hour? Would we have to stay somewhere overnight? Would we have to stand in this line for 2 hours waiting for our turn?

That's when I saw her. She was four people behind us in line. She was wearing a white sweater and holding a kleenex and her eyes were red. I couldn't help overhear her conversation....

...in the hospital...going into surgery...head and neck okay, lungs and heart okay...bleeding around liver and spleen...broken femurs...broke all her ribs...crushed her legs...

She was waiting in line to buy a plane ticket to the east coast. Someone she cared deeply about had been injured. My heart ached for her. While we were waiting, she got a call from someone at the hospital. I watched her crouch down, crying, hiding her face as she listened, and my heart stopped. For a moment, I feared that whoever she was going to see had not made it. But, that was not the case. I don't know what they told her.

She moved through the line, making notes on a crowded piece of paper, pulling out more kleenex when needed. She made and received phone calls, she explained who was driving from where to get to the hospital. She waited.

And suddenly, my delayed flight... it didn't really matter. As tears filled my eyes for this young woman, I just felt lucky to be going to visit family. I prayed for her to get a flight soon, to make it, for the person she was speaking about to be okay.

We ended up getting on a different flight through Denver instead of Chicago, only arriving an hour later than planned. I hope that she got where she was going, and that when she arrived, she was with other people that shared her love for this person and could be there for her as she healed.


Kori said...

Oh, my heart goes out to her.

Shana said...

Aren't you sweet to think of her.
It's amazing what can happen to put things in perspective...I had this happen to me recently. I should blog about it too!
Thanks for sharing.

Jeanne said...

Wow... just when you think you're having a rough day - there's nothing like a little perspective. Thanks for a good post :-)