Saturday, September 09, 2017

Omaha's Welcome

When we landed in Omaha, I was greeted by a young man who was there to assist me in getting from the plane to the luggage area. As you all know I've been working do become completely independent in airports and explained to him, once I'd gotten myself to the top of the arrivals ramp that I thought I'd be okay. Now, I made this decision based on the fact that he had told me that it wasn't far to the luggage area, but that there was a fairly long ramp between where I was and where I wanted to go. I asked him if it was a carpeted ramp and he told me that it was. I took a second and then said, "I\m going to give it a go on my own." "Perfect," he responded, then asked, "may I walk along with you as I'm headed that way myself." I said sure.

I pushed along as he told us about Omaha, he's incredibly proud of his city. We listened to him and followed him as he walked quickly and knew where he was going. We hit the bottom of the ramp. It was steep, it was very long, and the carpet was fairly thick. I pushed up and was stuck. There was no way I could get up by myself. No way at all. I told him that I was going to need his help and he said, "Oh, sure, no problem," He was young and strong and had me at the top of the ramp in no time. He was still chatting, he didn't even become winded with the effort.

Once at the top, before I could ask him to, he let go of me. The transition between his help and my independence was completely seamless. He walked a little further with us, and then wished us well. I made it to the luggage area in short order and we were soon ready to go.

I marveled at this kids ability to provide help in such a non intrusive way. He didn't argue with me about my decision, he must have known the ramp, really a hill, would have been difficult for me to do, he just accepted my decision and made himself available if he was needed. He had no need to force his will or his opinion into my decision making process. When it turned out I did need his help he gave no hint of 'I told you so,' he just helped.


Amazing way to start my visit to Omaha where I will be speaking to direct support professionals. The best of that profession also happen to be the best at just being human.

Thanks to whoever hired this guy, good decision!


Julie J said...

Welcome to Nebraska! I hope you enjoy your stay. I know that ramp and epic is the only word that comes to mind!

Belinda said...

Maybe more young people just like him are coming down the pipeline! I hope so. I hope that "The Times They Are A Changing!"

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion: contact the airline with this praise even if you don't know the man's name. Provide your flight information, what then happened, and what, exactly, made it so perfect -- and even why that's so. In your case, I also encourage sharing your profession as well as what you came to do. I mean, you're qualified to give this feedback both personally and professionally. If you're comfortable with it, include your consent for this being shared within the company.

The props you give may well get around to the person who helped you. But even if it doesn't, positive feedback is all the more valuable for its rareness. Examples of what to do are so much more useful than examples of what NOT to do. And here you have a grand one.

For myself, I did this kind of thing the time the TSA agents did everything absolutely right with me and my disability. (That, too, was primarily recognizing I know both my capabilities and my needs.) I emailed TSA, told them all they needed to know and gave permissions. The people were recognized, some of my email was posted in their offices at that location (at least), and the organization asked for further permission (granted) to use it in training.

I figure sending specific praise to an organization when something has been done especially well is a great way to make it more likely things go that well again. I take it as a responsibility and, well, a joy, really. I love being able to write someone about something that's been done really well!


Unknown said...

A wonderful experience for your arrival at an American city..

Shannon said...

I find (just in general) that younger people are more willing to accept it if you say no to help, and if you do say yes to their help, do it without making a big deal of it.

tamara said...

I recently took a trip with my partner and daughter who has an intellectual disability to Hong Kong. I was nervous about taking her on her first overseas trip so requested assistance at the airport when we reached Hong Kong, with the intention of getting help through customs finding baggage etc. We arrived to be greeted by a lovely woman pushing a wheelchair and wearing a face mask. My daughter immediately became hysterical thinking we had tricked, her promising Disney land and taking her to a hospital instead. She made quite a commotion, became aggressive, screaming and threw herself on the ground, but the woman instinctively knew to give us space, she waited a good 10 meters away until my daughter was ready to walk, she also talked with security who came running so I think intervened on our behalf, and then motioned for us to follow her. She sat us in an area away from the ques, arranged our visas, customs etc. Her help was tremendous without much communication at all.
I was so incredibly grateful. We now travel without airport assistance :)
David I receintly did some online training on professional boundaries (I am a support worker, working with adults with disabilities) I found your videos so encredibly enlightening, and gave me so much to think about both as a worker and as a parent. My daughter just turned 15 and I feel so much urgency in the need to empower her to protect herself and understand boundaries. I was moved to google you and found your blog. So I just wanted to thank you.