This one is a bit lengthy...grab your drink and learn what started my inspiration to bless flight crews every time I travel...hope it inspires you to bless those who serve you!
It's easy to respond to kindness, but how hard is it to remain kind when being treated rudely or unfair?
Last fall, while flying through several towns, I had a layover in Chicago at Ohare...then...a change of plans...
Not only did I have to change gates, I had to change concourses three times!
Having already secured some assistance, because of an injured knee, (that's another story) I waited for a cart driver to come and take me to the new gate. He had only just dropped me there a few minutes before they made the announcement,
but I wasn't overly concerned; I knew I had a ride!
In the waiting, though...I began to hear the grumbling...
The other passengers waiting for the same flight were visibly upset.
I had a choice to make right then and there. I too, was tired from flying, and in pain from my knee...it would have been so easy to join in on the grumble-fest, but this day...
I checked the right box...
I chose peace.
Then, I sensed a nudge...an opportunity to do what I hope to do everyday...Speak Life and Live!
I decided to wear my gratitude out loud.
Let me tell you - once you begin to Speak Life - its hard to shut it off - its like pouring a bag of M&Ms into a big bowl and set it on a table for everyone to share...its irresistable!
I started with the airline desk attendants.I made a point to thank them for their patience after I noticed several race to the desk to make a point to complain...which only enticed the waiting passengers to join in & begin to mingle about the chaos, trying to engage one another in the grumbling.
Why does misery loves company?
I intentionally chose to find a way to shift the subject, instead of engage in the complaining. I started by smiling at anyone who would catch my glance, giving them an encouraging nod...as
they gathered up their belongings and proceeded to the new gate...which was located on the other end of the concourse.
I waited for my driver.
I was surprised to have the same driver again! He explained... when I arrived at Ohare, he was specifically assigned to me and wherever I needed to be, he would be notified right away and all I needed to do, was to wait for him and he would come and get me.
How about that?
He was a nice young man, his name Muhammed.
"Beep Beep - Cart Here - Beep Beep"
I found out he was newly married and his wife was expecting their first child and he loved his job. He was kind enough to stop at the Starbucks and get me get a coffee, I offered him one too and he was grateful. Along the way we picked up two more passengers...and our conversation quieted...
I tried to tip him, but he declined.
By the time I arrived at the second gate - I noticed the atmosphere among the passengers was thick with agitation - and I had to remind myself...
Melody...girl, this is Chicago...attitudes are already on high alert...don't join in...choose peace.
You see in order to speak life, we must first capture our thoughts... if not, we can easily "fit in" and its a slippery slope from there.)
As we approached the gate in the cart, my driver made sure to announce our arrival..."Beep Beep -- Move Please --Cart Here!!"
No one was impressed and I felt indignate stares go right through me - as most of those at the gate had lugged all their baggage and travel weary bodies from one end of the concourse to the other...
I concluded there was going to be no empathy or any assistance from these passengers this day, even though every step was excruciatingly painful.
No less than 10 minutes after everyone arrived at the gate, as we were all getting as comfortable as we could in those airport chairs...
The gate crew picked up the microphone and announced:
'ladies and gentlemen....
"we are sorry to inform you this flight is yet again changing gates..."
The grumbling quickly grew into outward cursing and disdain...the tension was thick...I knew I should keep quiet, mind my own business...this is Chicago I warned myself...Girl you gonna get clocked...but I was compelled...I had to do something;
I spoke up.
I said with a big huge smile...and
loud enough for more than a few to hear me...
"We might not be able to choose which gate we leave Chicago, but we do get to choose how we respond in Chicago - RIGHT?"
Everything felt like as if in...
s l o w m o t i o n
I could hear my words before I spoke them...
"I choose to go with it and not be a grump - how about you Chicago?"
I waited for it...
I kept my head low, but caught a few eyes looking my way, the response seemed pleasant, some actually laughed with a sigh of relief, while others smiled and nodded -- as they packed up their things and began their march back to the B concourse, while I, waited for my driver.
As the cart pulled up...
Mohammed exclaimed with joy;
"Miss Melody...your chariot awaits your majesty"
"Indeed" I giggled.
I have much respect for Muhammed, trying to drive a cart through the crowds at Chicago's O'hare is more of a sport, than a luxury - the driver is contantly beeping the horn -(which sounds like the Road Runner "Beep Beep") and then at the same time he is barking at the people, ignoring him, about to run them down with it -- "CART HERE"!
I knew my time was limited to talk to him, we chatted about his job and I asked him how he is able to stay positive when no one is listening to him as he drives the cart -- He said "I love to help people and I see each person, like the Lord does"
this caught me by surprise...and my next question was even more surprising...
I asked him...
"are you Muslim?"
He laughed. "No! not anymore...
I love Jesus like you!"
AWESOME! I gave him a high five!
Then I said -- "maybe instead of hollering --Cart Here-- you should shout
He laughed and then...
The rest is history!
Of course, I threw on my 'hollywood' shades and played the part. It was hysterical!
I waved a parade princess wave everyone he announced his 'Special Delivery' passenger.
By the time we got close to the third gate... we were actually passing some of the passengers who had walked back there and those who had already found their way could here us coming...they were waving and laughter ensued all of as Mohammed proclaimed...
Something happens to a group of people who go through hardship together, depending on how they are led, with strife or with kindness and joy...it can determine the outcome...
By now this group of weary, exhausted travelers were forming a bond, by the time I got out of the cart and seated I noticed people were engaging in real conversations, exchanging business cards, and as I looked across the hall the other gates, they were stone cold like a group of strangers riding on an elevator...
Would you believe it was the same gate we had originally began at an hour earlier?
Oh the Irony!
But...guess what...no one was complaining!
Then, because I was sitting right next to the desk, a gate attendant asked me for my ticket --"uh-oh-- I'm in trouble" I said as I had a friendly audience now...
Then to my surprise...
She handed me back a First Class ticket in return!!
I looked up with a question in mu eyes and they just smiled and said THANK YOU!!
Then, I heard something and turned in amazement as the other passengers who were waiting, started clapping, smiling and gave me the thumbs up!
My empathy for those who serve thousands of passengers everyday has turned into a mission.
My heart is to bless every member of the flight crew, from desk agents, to flight attendants and pilots...everytime I fly.
I load my a carry-on bag with thank you notes, little gifts, treats and yes... samples of RevitalU!