This week, I went away for a short work trip. On my way home, I was stuck in the Charlotte, NC airport for a few hours of a layover. I began to get a migraine – the smell of unshowered people eating their hamburgers made me nauseated and I was pumping myself with anti-nausea meds, Motrin, Xanax and essential oils. (True story)
As I sat, I glance up and see a woman with a scarf around her neck sobbing. She’s looking at her phone, wiping her tears and her face is visibly red and eyes are puffy. It instantly broke my heart seeing her suffering even though I had no idea what it was about – I could see her pain. I stared for a while, trying to quickly look down when she glanced up not to make her feel more awkward. After several minutes of this, we made eye contact. She continued to have tears and just looked back down, took off her glasses and wiped her eyes again.
I had no idea why, or what. But I felt compelled to just love. So I put my laptop in my bag, walked to her and put my arm around her. Super strange. And not the best thing retrospectively to touch a complete stranger. I simply said “I’m sorry.” She looked at me for a second and I got a little nervous, she dropped her phone in her lap and squeezed me back and continued so sob. She pulled me away at arms length and said “thank you.”
I walked back to my seat and she got up to walk to the restroom. I noticed about five minutes later she came back with no tears, and sat in her chair munching on overly priced bag airport popcorn.
This was a lot of ramblings, but I have a point. So many times in life – we know people are struggling. They don’t have to tell us or be sobbing in an airport, but we all have subtle clues that sometimes people just need to know SOMEONE cares.
I wish we lived in a world where we had more insight and were more in tune with people. Shame on us, for not.
How we view the world and how we treat people is OUR choice. No matter how people treat us, or how fake you know people are, or how hateful and entitled and mean people can be! We will no doubt face crappy circumstances and crappy people but we need to just love them thru it.
I didn’t save this woman’s life in the airport. I didn’t do anything big and bold. I took two seconds to just let her know someone else cared that she was hurting for whatever reason. And I instantly felt her appreciation and instantly felt it was the right thing to do the second she squeezed me back.
Be kind. To everyone. We will never know the battles other people are fighting. We will also never know the impact of a simple gesture of love and kindness.
A random act of kindness or compassion goes a really – really long way.