Pay it Forward

It’s because of this face you see here (photo courtesy of Staci; more to come soon!) — and the kindness of strangers — that I was able to make it through one of the most harrowing travel days of my life yesterday.

After a fantastic week in NJ, Maya and I headed back to Michigan yesterday afternoon.

When we got to the airport, I discovered that my Continental Express flight was not flying out of Terminal A, per usual, but rather Terminal C … smack on the other side of the airport.  Since I was lugging Maya in the infant carrier, a diaper bag and my pump bag, my mom accompanied me on the Air Tran. Once we arrived at the security check-point at Terminal C, my heart fell.

There were, no joke, 350 people in line. Realizing we’d definitely not have time for lunch now, my mom and I said goodbye, and I went to get in line.

But once I got to the entrance, the security guard shocked me by pulling me aside and whisking me to the front of the line. I felt a million eyes on my back, but frankly, I didn’t care. I was just happy not to have to lug all that crap through the line!

I thanked the woman a hundred times over. Once we got through, all I could think about was a slice of pizza (I’m a pizza snob and though I live in the Midwest now cannot STAND Chicago-style pizza … give me a NY-style slice any day of the week instead!).

I got in line and suddenly the power went out. As in, the whole airport. And, as we later discovered … the surrounding areas too. I cursed under my breath because, though my husband always tells me to carry come cash, I never do … I literally had $2 in my wallet … and if the power was completely out, there was no chance of paying by debit card.

I was hungry and tired bu didn’t feel like arguing … I didn’t have cash on me and came to accept that, therefore, I couldn’t eat.

So imagine my surprise when the guy behind me — about my age — offered to buy my slice! As with the security guard, I thanked him a hundred times over and dove into my pizza while giving Maya a bottle and marveling over the past half-hour’s events … I was beside myself with these strangers’ generosity and kindness … little did I know it would only get better as the day got worse!!

I started panicking thinking about Maya’s bottles and diapers. I always pack like a Girl Scout, but if we were stranded overnight, would I have enough? Would I need to nurse in public (something I’m not personally into)? Would I run out of wipes?! How would I buy a bottle of water without any money? And what about my iPhone, whose battery was dying a quick death!?

Fortunately, the power outage only lasted two hours and Maya was an amazing little trooper, barely fussing, so I didn’t have to worry too much.

But because no flights were going out or allowed to come in during a blackout, all the flights were delayed … indefinitely. Then, while we waited, they kept changing our gate (which meant lugging everything to different gates) and pushing back our departure time (which meant more exhaustion).

But here’s what made the situation bearable: I can’t tell you how many people on my flight offered to help me with my bags or buy me a drink or something to eat! I didn’t take anyone up on it, but I was touched to the nth degree.

When I finally got ready to board, the gate attendant switched my seat so Maya and I wouldn’t have anyone in the seat next to us and the flight attendant carried my bags for me since I’d gate-checked the infant carrier. Once again, I was touched.

Maya slept the whole flight and was an angel through and through … she was much more patient and calm than I was!

We arrived four hours late and I was so happy to see my hubby–who had a single red rose and a Fuji apple (my fave) waiting for me.  Our bed never felt so welcoming as it did last night and I would say I slept like a baby but there was a 2 AM and a 5 AM wake-up call standing in the way 😉 Oh well …

Since so many people had been so kind to me, today I found an opportunity to pay it forward myself.

I hadn’t worked out all week and now that I can exercise, I wanted to get my fitness on. When I went to bring Maya to the gym’s daycare, I saw the sign on the door that said the hours … which were 8-12 and 4-8. Um … it was 2 PM. I was about to leave when my old trainer from two years ago (who also works for the gym) told me she would watch Maya–that she was just doing paperwork. Inside, I was dancing 🙂

So I got in a quick 30-minute workout (didn’t want to abuse her kindness) and then went to get Maya. I’d planned on paying for daycare anyway ($3),but only had a $10 bill on me. So I gave the trainer the money instead. She refused, but I told her I wanted her to have it, and she was greatly appreciative. I know she’s a single mom and that her young daughter has some medical issues, so I’m hoping that this small gift helps in some way.

I share this story today because we always hear and read about the evils and ills of society today and this is an example of how wonderful people can really be.

How about you? How do you handle travel drama and anxiety?






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