By Eileen Small
December 19, 2007
I had a wonderful opportunity to witness human kindness recently.
As often as we see "the other side" of individuals,
I thought this was worth a short letter to share it. This past
weekend, my 94 year old mother flew from Ketchikan back home
to Houston, Texas to visit with my sister and the rest of our
family for a month.
This was a HUGE deal, not only
due to Mama's age but because she is wheelchair dependent, nearly
deaf and is blind in one eye and can barely see with the other
eye. I made the ticket acquisiotion about a month early and
then began trying to be sure she would be assisted to and from
gates etc---the whole thing. About 2 years ago my Mom made the
same trip and was left in an airplane for several hours (accidentally)
because the airline forgot her. Needless to say, while Mama
eagerly anticipated this trip, she was also scared to death of
a repeat of her last experience. I made a number of phone calls
both to Alaska Airlines and to American Airlines which was the
connecting flight she had to pick up in Dallas to get to Houston.
Even after multiple reassurances from BOTH airlines, I still
took Mom to the airport on Saturday evening with a lot of trepidation.
I knew if there was any "mess up" that my Mom was
emotionally unable to deal with it and that it was nearly impossible
to handle such a problem from Ketchikan.
About 5 a.m. on Sunday morning my phone rang. My heart sank
as I answered it because her flight was supposed to land in Houston
at shortly after 9 a.m. their time, and I was sure that the very
worst had happened and that Mom was stuck some where and hysterical.
I was met on the phone by a calm male voice who said: "
Hello, I am the captain of the plane your Mom is on. We have
experienced a little mechanical difficulty and are running late
and your Mom is upset. She didn't have the phone number for your
sister in Houston who's picking her up and if you can give it
to me I'd like to call and explain the situation to her so she
can pick up your Mom when we get there." My response was
that I appreciated his notifying me and would be happy to contact
my sister myself, but he replied again: "I think your Mom
would feel better if I just called with her here if you don't
mind just giving me the number." I gave him my sister's
phone number and he did contact her about the delay.
In my confusion, in the dark, at that early hour, I never asked
for that kind pilot's name. I was in shock in the first place
just to have a pilot call me about something that must have seemed
so trivial to him---a mechanical delay and a plane running late.
I know the flight number and intend on writing American Airlines
a note to commend him---hopefully it will trickle down and he'll
hear about it. All I know is this: in a world where we're all
so very busy (especially this time of year) and where all of
us get annoyed with airlines when they run late or lose our luggage--
or a million other inconveniences, there are still some very
good and decent people. This includes a pilot on flight 2385
from Dallas to Houston, Texas on Sunday morning, December 16,
2007. This stranger took his time and used his phone to be of
comfort to a frail and elderly 94 year old woman who was a long,
long way from home. I hope he and his family enjoy peaceful
and blessed Holidays.
Received December 17, 2007
- Published December 19, 2007
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