Back in my chair I pushed into the gate area through a wide doorway. There was nothing in front of the door, of course, nothing that would block the flow of a lot of passengers disembarking. Off to the side was a podium, the kind where they check your tickets and documents when you are being loaded on to the plane. Behind the podium was a tall chair, on swivel wheels. Again, it was well off to the side. No one was at the podium or on the chair. There was, however, an agent working the next podium over.
She must have noticed me out of the corner of her eye. I was, as I always am, the last off the plane. I'd been frantic moments before because my chair had disappeared in the hands of other passengers and it took more time than you might imagine for me to calm down about that. But I was pushing my own chair and getting ready for the long push to the luggage area when she saw me.
It would have been comical if it wasn't so entirely odd yet entirely expected at the same time. Some people just panic when they see a wheelchair. It might happen a little more often with me because of my size, but I know from other wheelchair users that it's not just the size, it's definitely also the wheels. So, she saw me.
She flew out of her seat.
She left behind the person she had been serving who gawked after her as she fled her post.
She ran over to the chair behind the podium that was well off to the side.
She grabbed the chair and moved it, swiftly almost toppling it over.
She smiled at me, letting me know that the way was now clear.
I'm sometimes just dumbfounded when this happens. The chair wasn't in my way and even if it had been the podium was still there. It provided exactly zero help at all. There was no need for any action, for anything to be done. The pathway was wide and open.
She then, noticing I'm sure my lack of gratitude, returned to her post.
I pushed down to the large, long ramp, where I stopped and started laughing. It was comical. It was frenetic and meaningless and made no sense at all.
But, after having my chair nearly stolen, my heart gripped by panic, it was good to laugh.
So moving the chair, meaningless as it was, did actually help.