I love airports.
Some of my best ideas came while sitting in seat 36 E, or waiting in the security line up.
I tear up watching lovers holding flowers, grandmothers waiting for grandchildren, and kids flinging themselves across airports to see their parents getting home from business.
I have a theory that the antidote to pessimism is the arrival gate of any airport.
It’s where I find hope, and it’s where I observe love.
Where there’s a chance to publicly experience multiple moments of intimacy at the exact same time.
I love flying—everything about it.
Airports are where I get to practice patience and grace. I don’t always succeed—but I try.
A few months ago when I was boarding a flight, I noticed a man having the nap of naps by the gate.
I was joining the last few stragglers in the boarding line.
My eyes darted back to Nap Guy. His mouth was open wide, his head thrown back, and he was drooling. It looked like a good nap. Part of me didn’t even wish to wake him.
I had a feeling that he was maybe on this flight and maybe he would miss the plane.
I left my place in line and took the risk of disrupting his nap of the year. “Are you flying to Seattle?”
He woke up in a jolt. Embarrassedly wiping the drool from his face, he quickly got in line behind the last stragglers boarding the plane.
The guy who allowed me back into line laughed and said, “You know, two seconds before you went over, I thought to myself that maybe I should go wake that guy up in case he misses his flight.”
I internally had hope that more than just myself and this man observed our fellow traveler and would have also been willing to intervene.
But, why did no one else approach him?
How comfortable are we approaching and supporting strangers?
Do we look the other way, or do we stop and ask if someone is okay?
I’m an idealist. I don’t worry if kindness will make others uncomfortable.
I will wake up the Nap Guy.
I will hug someone who is not a hugger.
I will see someone who needs to be seen and support someone who needs to be supported.
Someday I may be that Nap Guy and I hope someone will have courage to step out of the line they are following and wake me up too.