This morning, I drove to LAX before the crack of dawn. I silently cursed the early hour, trying to wake myself up and looking forward to getting my short flight over with so I could visit one of my favorite clients.
Going through the clear/TSA line at the airport, a young man was working. He was in a wheelchair.
As he began taking me and two others through the line at security, he asked, “How are you all doing?”
I replied, “’Pretty good. A little tired but not bad. How about you?”
This young man, who was in his early twenties, looked up at me from his wheelchair and said, “I really can’t complain. Life is pretty good.”
That hit me, nearly stopped me in my tracks. The words “I can’t complain” resonated with me even as I walked rapidly away from security towards my gate.
Here was this young man, in a wheelchair, at LAX working at 5 in the morning, and HE can’t complain?!
And I’m telling him that I’m a little tired as I go off to work with great clients in Napa Valley. I imagined all the hardships he had to endure, all the daily struggles and obstacles because of his physical limitations. And working for LAX as a TSA agent is probably no easy task, either.
Man-oh-man, do I have it backward.
By the time I got on the plane and took my seat, my attitude had completely flipped. I felt incredibly grateful as we took off with the sunrise streaming through the plane’s starboard windows, a surge of being in the moment and connected.
This young man had provided a total recalibration of my perspective and brightened my day, so much so that I wanted his words and positivity to reach you, too. How many other people did he see during his work shifts and greet the same way? What countless number of souls did he inspire in some small way, brightening their day just a little bit?
This guy was my new hero!
By the time we landed, I was re-energized, intent on inspiring the people I would encounter that day with the same positivity and humility.
We all learn a lot from our experiences, but we perhaps learn even more from the people we choose to have around us.
For that reason, it’s important to surround ourselves with people who are even grateful just to wake up each morning, considering every single day a gift (and that’s why it’s called the ‘present’!)
I’m going to try and hold onto my this one – to this feeling, because it certainly illuminates all we do in our everyday lives, like sunrise streaming through the windows at 25,000 feet.
And when times get tough or I start to get down, I’ll remind myself of my new friend’s prophetic words, “I really can’t complain. Life is pretty good.”