“Well ladies and gentleman we’ve got this adorable black and white houndstooth suitcase that someone left in the jet bridge, if you could please ring your call light if this is yours we would greatly appreciate it. Otherwise I sure hope we’re the same size.”
I clicked the phone back into place and looked at the gate agent and shook my head. “Does it have any identification tags on it?” I asked.
“That would be too easy” she called back as she walked away to get the final paperwork.
I looked at this lonesome bag sitting there and figured I’d make one more announcement and then that’s really all I could do.
I needed to get home.
I needed to get dinner.
I needed to see my boyfriend.
I made the final announcement, went to the effort of walking through the plane with the cute little suitcase, and then surrendered it to the agent. Releasing it to the black hole that is Atlanta.
The plane door whooshed close and as I turned around to tell the Captain we were ready to go when…
A single call light in the very back lit up.
I trotted back there, my heels clomping in the silence.
“Ma’am, is everything okay?” I asked.
“Oh well, that bag you were making announcements for, was it black and white hounds tooth?” she asked nervously.
After replying that it was and explaining that normally the process is claiming it from lost and found, I paused and then without saying a word, I turned and walked as fast as I could to the flight deck. I barreled through the door with, “Captain, is there any way we can get that bag?”
You see, there was something in her eyes that just looked so lost and I know Atlanta. I know the system. She would never get that bag back. It’s a bag with no tags currently sitting on the Tarmac next to a big burly ramp guy.
“You see, she really needs that bag and she’s in seat 23 C and her name is J**** and I just think that if it’s possible we should really get that bag” I said in the worlds longest sentence, breathless after running from the back.
My job isn’t rocket science. Nor is saving a bag for a passenger. I’m certainly no superhero and honestly most days I’m selfish and turn a blind eye to certain situations because…
I want to go home.
I haven’t eaten that day.
I didn’t sleep well last night…
The list could go on. But in that moment there was a chance to do something really small that might make 23 C’s life just a little bit easier.
We got the bag on and I walked up to her and explained that now she wouldn’t have to spend the rest of her week tracking a houndstooth bag and could enjoy her time in Michigan.
I went about my business and forgot about 23C until landing, when I as Flight Leader was standing in First Class saying goodbye to everyone.
I could see her making her way towards me and she had this expression on her face that I’ll never forget. It was the softest smile but there was so much sadness behind her eyes.
She practically ran towards me to give me the worlds biggest hug as she leaned in she whispered, “my daughter miscarried her baby this week and I’m flying up to be there with her through this and I’ve just been so overwhelmed by all of this, that I must have just left my bag without thinking. I can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done”
She pulled back and there were tears in her eyes as she thanked me again and stepped off the plane.
I looked down at my hands to hide the tears in my eyes as passengers walked past me.
How often do I miss taking just an extra five minutes to help someone, not knowing whether it could be just the help that they need during a very difficult time.
How often do I close the plane door and tell the Captain to go and diplomatically do my duty as a Flight Attendant, but miss connecting on a human level with people because I’m “too busy”.
Was my point in telling you this story to make you think I am the worlds best Flight Attendant? Absolutely not. I’m an average person that makes what feels like, a lot more mistakes than good choices. But maybe, just maybe you’ll read my very long blog post and be reminded how tiny tiny efforts can change someone’s day, week, heck maybe even life. And maybe if we all took the time to be kind every day there would be a lot more love in the world.
With all my love,