Mr. Rogers said, “There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
That quote was going around in my head while waiting for my flight in a small-town airport that was suffering from a power outage. Lacking light for reading and not wanting to use my valuable phone battery, I observed the people around me. Everyone was being nice. People were allowing others to cut in line ahead of them. I assume the reason was that we were all in the same boat. The situation was an act of nature. None of us were to blame, so it seemed no one was doing any blaming. Things had to be done differently than they are at an airport with power.
Our luggage had to be searched by hand. All passengers had to be checked in manually. The boarding passes and checked bag tags were handwritten. One passenger was anxiously awaiting reconnection with her young child after a series of long meetings that had kept them apart. One man was meeting his wife at our eventual destination. She had left the day before, but he decided to take this flight a day later. A flight that as of now, no one knew when or if it was leaving. One young family was traveling with their newborn for the first time ever. They came complete with a car seat, stroller, multiple diaper bags, and baby carrier. Every one of the stories that I overheard around me told of people who could have been extremely stressed about the late flight and the possibility of missed connections. If our masks wouldn’t have been covering our faces, I believe there would have been more smiles than not in that terminal.
I don’t know whether to attribute our attitudes to the fact that it was a small plane with fewer passengers or that it was an early morning flight so no one of us was hardened from a day of travel. What I do know is that kindness matters. That entire situation could have been far more complicated and harder to handle if people would have been grumpy or mean. As it was, we all stood in line calmly waiting to be pat down before boarding the aircraft.
The next time you are in a situation where you feel yourself growing anxious, uneasy, or angry, try this: The self-explanatory “It’s OK because …” game. You might be amazed at the positivity it can add into a less than optimal situation. It’s OK because we weren’t ready to go home quite yet. It’s OK because life is an adventure. Even on adventures kindness does matter.
Photo By Iwan Shimko