You can tell a lot about a person when they're under pressure or rushed. And an airport is a breeding-ground for angry, impatient people!!! Unfortunately, nonverbal expressions are not hidden and verbal spats are even more common when things don't go as planned for flyers. It's a sad display of humanity.
I realized down the pot-filled mountain road to the Montego Bay airport that I forgot to check-in the day before. I had just spent five days documenting the beautiful children at Robin's Nest Children's Home.
It wasn't my first rodeo . . . but prepping the day before ensures one's pecking order flying Southwest and I sure do love my aisle seat.
I walked to the kiosk, scanned my passport and discovered the likelihood of me getting that coveted seat probably wasn't in the cards this trip. I accepted my fate that I would be squished between two strangers for a few hours or be next to the window (which isn't necessarily a bad thing when trying to rest) and have to climb over multiple people for my usual flight potty break. I accepted my new reality, strolled through the airport, checked emails,
purchased a snack and headed to the bathroom . . . and then I heard my name being said with a Jamaican accent.
You know that feeling growing up when you heard your parent call you from the other room as if you were in trouble? Well . . . that's what it feels like when you hear your name said over the entire airport intercom system! It has only happened once before and today was numeral dos. It's not like the Price Is Right where you excitedly run down an aisle for a chance to win fancy prizes. There's usually a problem that needs to be solved and the person being paged is part of the issue.
Myself and two ladies head up to the counter and are told that we were randomly selected for a drug test. There really are only a few ways to respond.
1) Accept that all your belongings including your personal space are going to be touched, searched and questioned.
2) Gripe about the invasion of privacy and make everyone around you miserable, including the poor airport personnel hired to do a job.
The third option will probably only get you detained so I suggest staying away from that one. Ha!
Lady #1: She chose wisely.
Lady #2: She chose poorly . . . and I heard it all as I waited with her outside the clear glass doors for our unwelcome appointment with latex gloves.
Lady #3: (me) I chose option one and added a smile to the package.
Here's the thing . . . complaining only made matters worse. For some reason, lady #2 didn't apparently understand the meaning of "random." Come on people! No one is trying to hurt you; in fact, these measures are for our safety yet people forget truths when they are discomforted or inconvenienced . . . even for a few moments.
Despite having my carry-on and camera bag searched and being patted down from top to bottom, there was an unexpected gift at the end. I was suppose to board as B56, but instead the three of us women were allowed to board first! All in all, I got my comfy aisle seat and my bladder was happy the entire flight.
Here's the morale of this story . . . even when things don't seem to be going your way, there many times is a brighter side to be found. And even if you can't' find the rainbow at the end of a rainy day, it doesn't mean the sun won't shine again. Sometimes we go through situations to learn life lessons - to be more patient, more loving, more understanding, more kind.
And we even miss out on unexpected blessings when we focus on the unpleasant. A comfy seat. An encounter with a new friend. A listening ear.
So next time you get B56, try to find the hidden positive at the back of the plane.