A guest post written by Will Heining
Chicago in July. The sticky heat of Midway Airport was accentuated by the lack of air conditioning. Remodeling was on-going and we were paying the price in the long line at the Customer Service Center.
Most of us had been scheduled on a flight to St. Louis that had been cancelled due to a mechanical problem. To get us on another flight, we had to wind our way through the overflowing zig-zag rope course line, which was being served by agents at only three of the eight windows. It promised to be a long afternoon.
We shuffled forward with each new vacancy, slowly gaining precious real estate, until I was a mere 4 or 5 from the front of the line. “Think cool thoughts” “Only a little while longer now” was the mantra playing over and over in my head.
Then, as the heat bore down and the air stilled beyond belief, the sound of a child’s scream broke into our collective consciousness.
Turning as one we all saw the grandmother trying to keep the boy – at least ten, maybe twelve years old – inside the half-circle of her arms as she pushed a luggage cart piled high with bags. I looked back at the three agents but they all seemed pre-occupied with the task at hand. “Why doesn’t someone do something?” I thought. “Why doesn’t someone…? Then, I realized I was that someone. I turned to the fellow behind me – I was now at the front of the line – and told him I’d be right back.
I walked directly to the woman where she was standing at almost the end of the line. I asked her to please come with me. The boy stopped struggling once we began rolling the cart and a window opened up just as we regained the front of the line. I guided her to the window – my window that I had earned by weaving thru the zig-zag ropes course – and then I walked back to take her old place near the back of the line.
As I re-traced the zig-zag ropes course for the second time, I was happy that, although I had greatly sacrificed, I had done the right thing. Not only that, but I felt that my actions alleviated the stress of that line for everyone – and created a much healthier place while waiting in line. I eventually reached the front of the line again without any dramatic incidents and was told that I was being sent – by bus – to O’Hare Airport for their next flight to St. Louis.
When I got on the bus I saw the grandmother, her husband, and grandson all boarding this same bus. When she saw me, she gave me a big hug of thanks and I realized that giving up my place in line hadn’t actually cost me anything. We still had all ended up on the same bus.
So the next time you’re tempted to edge out that slow moving driver or refuse to yield the right-of-way to a crosswalk walker, remember that helping out your fellow man, carrying part of their load or even letting them go first Never puts you further back – we’re all on the same bus! And these selfless acts promote health for the giver and the recipient.
Mary Baker Eddy put it this way: “When man is governed by God, the ever-present Mind who understands all things, man knows that with God all things are possible.”