10 April 2013

Pay it Forward

I just got back from my annual pilgrimage to Tucson, AZ for triathlon camp - which was fabulous, as always, and filled with awesome workouts and even awesomer people.

So, a post that is non-triathlon related, but I just wanted to write it up because the kindness of strangers, even just small gestures, can be truly touching and meaningful.

I was slated to head back east early Monday afternoon, but unfortunately the weather had different plans. I had made it to the airport on time, thanks to my wonderful sister Steph who drove me and all my triathlon crap to the airport straight from the pool. Even though the wind was HOWLING outside (wind advisory, and it kept getting stronger), we were loaded onto the plane. After everyone was on, Delta promptly offloaded us, saying that they needed twenty-seven volunteers to opt to take another flight because our plane was too heavy to take off in these winds. In the meantime, they also looked at other ways to lighten the plane, including dumping some fuel. I'm not exactly the most enthusiastic flier so getting on plane that was deemed too heavy for takeoff wasn't very appealing. Couple that with the fact that the delays would result in a missed connection, most likely stranding me in the Atlanta airport for the night (and no available hotel rooms due to the NCAA tournament), I made the executive decision that I would just hang out in Tucson one more night. We still had the condo and some of my favorite people were in town until Tuesday.

I wasn't the only one who had to change my travel plans - there were ALOT of people waiting in line to do the same. While travel snafus aren't usually fun, they do bring out a sense of camaraderie and friendliness from complete strangers who you might not have gotten to know had everything gone to plan. I was talking to a very nice couple behind me, mentioning that I would likely just stay an extra night in Tucson, and they asked me how I was going to get back to the condo. I planned on taking a cab since the condo was 40+ minutes away and that was a long drive to ask my condo-mates to make just to pick me up. I was about to say as much when the lady in front of me asked where my condo was located. When I told her it was near Sabino Canyon, she said she lived nearby and since her husband was picking her up to take her home, they could drop me off too. She patiently waited for me to sort out my flights with the gate agent (which took awhile) and was simply so, so nice. When I thanked her profusely for offering me a ride, she said "if my daughter was stuck in an airport somewhere, I'd love it if someone would do the same for her."

I know that a ride home from the airport doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was just this act of kindness, being more than happy to help me out while expecting nothing in return, that struck a chord. She had been on her way to Indiana to see her dad, who had just had heart surgery and still hadn't woken up from the anesthesia, and yet here she was, thinking of others. I know that this nice woman - Lisa - and her husband will probably never stumble across this blog, but I just wanted to say how much I appreciated their kindness in giving me a ride home from the airport and I will pay it forward whenever the opportunity presents itself.


Jennifer Harrison said...

Totally agree, how wonderful is she?
And the thing that is amazing is that the people in Tucson are SO generous and thoughtful. People here in Chicago could take a few notes.

James Ford said...

Great story, and good to know there are nice people out there, we never hear enough about them!

Caroline said...

I loved how nice people were out in Tucson! And how they usually didn't try to run bikers over!

Tim said...

Caroline! What a great story. We're about 2 hours west of phoenix right now and had the same wind storm you ran into. Everything turned beige!

I hope you're tri camp went well.

Caroline said...

Tim! I hope you guys are having a fantastic trip and enjoying the warm weather, sand and all! Tri camp was absolutely fantastic, as always! Hope to see you soon!