Yesterday we flew home.
On arriving at the airport, everything went smoothly so we ended up with a fair bit of time. We decided to have an early dinner and went to Chili's one of the restaurants on the concourse. Airport restaurants do everything they can to maximize space and that often means it's difficult for people using wheelchairs to get into the restaurant. But here, we spotted a table and headed towards it. It was a table for two and was set between two people our age. A man finishing his meal and having a glass of wine on one, a woman placing her order for food on the other.
When we got to the table we realized that if I turned my chair toward it, I'd block the passageway behind me. If we pushed the table in such that that didn't happen, There would be no where for Joe to sit. The fellow drinking the wine silently picked up his stuff, plates, knives, glasses, bottle and moved to the table beside him that was empty. Joe then was able to use his table to push next to mine and sit behind it. We were in and comfortable.
We thanked him, he waved it off.
On the way out we paid for his glass of wine. We both wanted to thank him, not for what he did, but for how he did it. He never, even once, made any kind of indication that this, which was a bother, was a bother. He just made space for us as if that was the most natural thing to do.
Shortly after we left, I went to the gate and spoke to the gate agent, there was something I wondered if he could do for us. It would make the flight more comfortable. I'm not going to tell you because, well, I don't have to tell everything do I? He was a nice, quiet man, who double checked and said that he thought that what I was asking was doable. Later when we were waiting he wandered away from his desk for a second and then gave me a very private 'thumbs up' reassuring me that all was well.
Again, I wanted to do something simple because of how he did what he did. Again it felt like he did this because it was natural for him to be kind. I couldn't think of what to do but when I found myself heading down the ramp towards the plane and saw him walking up towards me, I stopped him. I looked at him seriously and said, "People aren't alway s kind to me, but today you were very kind, I want you to know that I appreciate what you did and how you did it." He brushed the compliment away and I reached out and touched his arm, "No, I'm serious," I said. I could see that he knew that I hadn't given an empty compliment, he nodded seriously. "Thank you," he said, "I don't get nearly as many compliments as complaints, I appreciate it."
I got on the plane ready to fly home.
I didn't feel much like reading on the plane so I spent much of the flight home thinking about what the world would be like if kindness became everyone's first response to a situation. Then, after that lovely fantasy, I began to think about what I would be like if kindness was my first response to a situation. It would change me, and I would like myself better.
I got off the plane ready to try kindness.