As we walked into the airport, our expectations were set immediately. We could see long lines being served by limited staff. You could feel the fragile emotions. Our sense of shared resignation was contagious. Using economy tickets with at least one piece of luggage slightly overweight was not a recipe for a quick check-in. Fortunately, we had allowed plenty of time at the airport.
When unexpected things happen, many, including this author, react first. It is a repeating story that goes on without end. When one group saw somebody in a temple, “they grabbed Paul and started yelling at the top of their lungs, ‘Help! You Israelites, help! This is the man who is going all over the world telling lies against us and our religion and this place. He’s even brought Greeks in here and defiled this holy place.’” (Acts 21.28) The facts were not relevant. The reaction of those that might clarify matters was not received. A course of action is set in motion and nothing good follows.
On this day, it was different. Two airlines staffers intercepted us. With our personal guides, we tried to the self-check in machine. When the machine did not read my passport, my guide quietly ducked behind a counter and checked me in with a priority sticker on my luggage.
Within five minutes of arriving, we were checked in, through passport control, and heading for a latte.
I have no idea why we were singled out. I am grateful. It was not our tickets. Economy was the norm that day, not the exception. It was not our dress. My casual unshaven look did not make me stand out in a good way.
I do know my stress melted quickly. As I sipped the latte, it was hard to remember the sigh of resignation. I do know that I felt special. Even without knowing why, the feeling was energizing. The tiredness from a lack of sleep disappeared and I found myself in a new day. I remember saying thank-you. I hope they know how much I meant it.