Don’t forget, not everyone travels for fun. She’s on your airplane, because her mom was just diagnosed with cancer and has been given a few weeks. Don’t forget, not everyone wants to be on your flight and maybe he’s only in 26A because work is taking him away from the family he so desperately wants to be there for. He also so desperately needs to provide for his family, so he goes. He goes every week. He flies more than you do, his platinum level points status requiring you to hang his coat and dote on him adoringly. You don’t understand why he snaps at you when you don’t have cranberry juice. You don’t get why orange or apple can’t be an ok substitute. You shake your head at the passenger who forgets their iPad in the seatback. I think they might be shaking their head at you if you only knew the life that they forgot at security, the one they are choosing to escape.
“You have to remember to take your laptop out of the bag,” he chided. I quickly and snarkly responded, “I know. I’m a flight attendant.” I had had enough of the 45 min security line and the fact that my small handbag had to be placed back through security. I had had enough of commuting. I hadn’t planned on going this time. It was just that Grandpa wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t stay in Florida and simply hope all would be fine. I wasn’t traveling for fun. I forget that this is the way that many have to travel; for reasons that are less than ideal. For reasons that fall into the category of heartbreaking.
I felt like my brain was distant yesterday. I felt like I had forgotten it somewhere and I didn’t really care that I did. I didn’t really care I left my laptop in the bag. I simply smirked and thought, “This is shit. Who cares about a stupid laptop in a stupid bag. I just want to be home.” Maybe this is how many think of air travel. So, when they board my flight and I smile like the sweet flight attendant who I am supposed to be, they don’t want to talk, don’t want to be in a middle seat, and don’t care that the bag has to go underneath the seat or that the seatbelt sign is on. The last straw is when I tell them, “Buy a bottle of water, we don’t have free blankets…and oh yeah btw, we are out of chicken.” I forget that the scene I see is not the only scene going on, because behind the scenes there could bigger problems swirling than purchased water and meals of beef.
I guess all that I’m saying is maybe we all need to be more sensitive, remembering that this trip your passenger happens to join you on could be for the worst reason in the world. Their life could be falling apart and instead of criticizing them for all the pieces that they are dropping into you world, creating a much more difficult environment than necessary, try picking up a small piece of their heart, handing it back to them and saying, “Darling- I know today is tough. I can’t fix it, change it or make it better, but just know
You are never alone.