I am losing touch with a common problem; long queues in airports. Yesterday was a blunt wake-up call.
My flight out of Chicago was 4:44 pm. My schedule was running right on schedule with the appropriate gap for potential problems. Given that there were none, dreams began to form with my casually catching an earlier flight. Time was wasting, so I grabbed a cab. I am not sure what I was expecting, however I did not find it!
First, there were the electronic check-in stands outside for those who had no luggage to check. Even though I did not qualify, the 80% usage should have been a leading indicator. Coming into the terminal only brought even more automatic check-in stands, in fact that is all you could see! Finally, I spotted a few airlines personnel near the far edge of the building. As I headed for the spot I discovered that there was a flight in an hour and fifteen minutes that would cut two hours off of my destination arrival time. As I arrived at the queue I knew I was in trouble! There was a queue that was 34 persons long. Two people were serving the queue. After almost ten minutes of waiting and only moving one person forward I knew that there was no way that I would ever get on the earlier flight. In fact I might even miss my regular flight!
I refused to get angry, at least yet. As I fretted I watched six attendants idly chat below a sign that said “odd sized baggage and bicycles.” My conclusion was simple; I am odd so I must qualify.
I was ready to argue! I had my barbs and criticisms all lined up. They were, from the instant I came into their sight lines, smiling, courteous, and extremely considerate. Less than four minutes later I was walking towards security.
You and I are in God’s service for others. What am I doing to and for my queues?
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” (Proverbs 15.1)