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Friday, July 31, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

JEAN SAID:

Thank you, Lord, for the kindness of strangers.

Monday I took J. to the airport. For the first time since he became blind and disabled he was to fly alone. Both of us were nervous. And, of course, everything went wrong.

We got tangled in a terrible traffic jam.

Tick.

Then every line we stood in at the airport moved at a slug's pace.

Tick-Tick.

Then, the security person discovered that the ticket agent put the wrong name on my gate pass (to assist J.). So, J. had to wait while I ran back to the ticket counter to get a corrected copy.

Tick-tick-tick.

J. can't pass through the fancy metal detector thingies. So more waiting for a security agent to pat him down.

Tick-tick-tick-tick.

Then, we had to buckle, lace, tie, and stuff everything back into its proper place after it came off the conveyor belt in the security check.

Sigh.

Time was racing and we weren't. J.'s health issues keep him from walking fast or far. It was time to board the plane and we were "miles" from our gate. No carts in sight so we started walking. I tried to move faster. J. couldn't. We weren't going to make the flight and I knew it.

After walking like maniacs for about 10 minutes J. gave out. He panted, "I can't make it. I can't go another step." He turned white. His legs became wobbly.

I don't even remember sending up a cry for help, Lord. I remember resigning myself to the fact that he was going to miss the flight and I'd just do whatever I had to do to get him on another one.

But I spotted a wheel chair and asked a gate attendant if I could borrow it. She took one look at J. (on the verge of passing out) and flew into action.

"We'll get you a cart and get you to that gate, Honey!" She got on one phone calling for a cart. Another agent grabbed a second phone and called our gate.

"They're waiting for you. We'll get you there. Don't you worry."

Three minutes passed and no cart. The first kind stranger said, "I see a cart right down there. I'll drive it myself. I don't mind!" She took off in an Olympic walk toward the cart.

Just then two more carts pulled up in front of J.'s seat. We crawled onto the nearest cart. The driver made a speed of light U-turn.


"Your flights boarding right now, you say?"

"Yes, but I'm praying they can hold it for us."

"Oh, they will! I'll get you there. Don't you worry. Hold on tight!"

And he did. I had no idea those carts could go so fast. I'm sure that driver broke every speed limit in the airport! And, Lord, he even waited at the gate to give me a ride back to the terminal.

The kind agent at that gate was ready for us. She threw J.'s carry-on over her shoulder. She grabbed her list and pen, then took his arm and escorted him onto the plane.

I thought I had it all well planned. I thought I had our schedule down pat. But my plans fell apart. That's when You stepped into the shoes of kind strangers and rescued us, Lord. Thank you.

GOD SAID:

Be kind to all strangers; for you may unknowingly be interacting with angels. They don't always wear white robes and halos, you know.

Sometimes they're dressed an awful lot like kind strangers.