Last Friday, while walking through the Denver airport to head back home, I noticed a young woman crying.
I was walking through the airport with Chuck, my longtime friend and coach, who was on the phone completing a call. As we waited to enter TSA, I noticed a young lady in tears, getting more and more upset while she spoke on her cell phone.
We ended up being sent in one direction and her in another at the airport while trying to get to the security line.
Finally, we entered an elevator to get to our gate. Just as the doors were set to close, the same young woman entered the elevator. She was still bawling, deeply upset, and struggling to find her ticket in her purse.
Trying to help, Chuck and I asked her if she was ok. Choking back emotions, she told us that she had planned to go home to Brazil in a few weeks but just received a terrible phone call today. Her father had been killed in a car accident, and she needed to come home early.
She had already missed a flight and was connecting through Atlanta and then on to Brazil.
But she was completely lost and frantic. I asked her to show me her ticket and that we would get her to her terminal safely. While we walked her to her gate, Chuck and I did what we could to console her.
When we arrived at the gate, I approached the agent and asked to allow the young lady on the flight early so she could get settled and also if they could have someone sit with her given what she was going through.
Chuck and I were just trying to help her get to where she needed to go. The gate agent said they appreciated the heads up and would do what they could to make sure she was comfortable.
We got the heartbroken Brazilian woman seated and said goodbye. Still crying and upset, she thanked us for our kindness and care as we walked away.
How many times have you seen someone in need like this but chose not to do anything?
How often have you at least asked how someone was doing?
If they were ok? If you could help in any way?
Mostly, we’re always too busy with what WE need to do, where WE need to go.
Countless people walked by this young woman, and not one stopped to help. Not one asked if she was ok – and she was falling apart right in public.
Where’s the humanity? Where’s the compassion? What are we all running and hustling and so busy with, if not to be better people, contribute, and live more enriched lives? And yet we ignore those right in front of us who need our help.
I am certainly no saint, but what stuck out at me is how involved we all get with “our stuff,” seldom stopping to think about how our actions can help or hurt someone else.
Instead, be present and aware. Take just a minute and go out of your way to do something for someone else. Just because.
Helping your neighbor is as foundational as it gets, yet almost a novel concept these days.
I am not sure how that day ended for that young woman. But I do know she made her flight. I do know we made her day just a little bit easier.
And for me, I became a little more present, even if it was just for that time.