Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

We spent 10 days in Edinburgh, Scotland this holiday season 2009 with our two daughters and sons in law.

In Edinburgh because of the ice and snow we found ourselves often taking taxis for Bob’s safety. Early on the morning of January 1 we taxied to the airport. Our driver had to park a bit away from the door for various reasons. He insisted on walking us all the way inside so he could help with the luggage and Bob.

Checking in at Edinburgh airport for the flight home, we learned that our flight would be delayed enough that we’d miss the scheduled flight to St. Louis and they had already rebooked us on the two hour later plane. Nice, but it was a full plane and the reservation guy said they were not able to give us seat assignments. In despair I said, “But those are the people who get bumped; my husband has Alzheimer’s.” He studied his computer: “I’m sorry I can’t get you seats together.” Me: “I don’t think he can fly if he’s not next to me.” “Let me see what I can do. I’ll find a supervisor; I’m sure we can make this happen. I’ll catch up with you at the boarding gate.” He was as good as his word and found us there to give me seats together and wish us best of a 2010 and ask if I needed anything else.
Finally at Newark and waiting for our luggage after a long delay, the bags finally arrived. I had to push both of them plus pull our carry-on; I told Bob “Let’s go” only to look back and see him 40 feet behind me just standing bewildered; he did not respond to my calls to him. A woman near me stepped up and said “I’ll watch your bags; go on.” I gathered him up and was able to go off pushing our luggage.

As we moved toward customs, a man walking by fell into step with me. “Did you have a good trip? We saw you on the way over; we took the same flights.” “We had a great Christmas. Our daughter lives there. Thanks.” “You are a courageous couple to try this. Good luck to you in the new year.”
Clearing customs we took our reclaimed bags to recheck them for home. At the end of a loooong line and wait the airport guy looked at the tags and said, “St. Louis? Take them right over to the middle slot.” Seeing me try to gather all the bags and Bob up again, he said, “Oh wait. I can do that for you.” He took the two bags and sent them on their proper way.

Finally we had to take the airport shuttle from concourse C to concourse A. Of course, the cars were crowded and I had nothing to hold on to despite the recorded warning: “The train is about to begin. Be certain to stand securely and hold on.” I knew we’d go down but I held on to Bob’s arm to try to steady him. Off we went, a young man behind Bob immediately put up a supporting arm behind Bob’s back and a woman in front of me took my arm to help me. Just seconds later as the train steadied, a young couple gave us their seats.

Thanks to all of you, unknown folks; may the world pay you back for your kindnesses.


  1. I agree! It actually brought tears to my eyes. And you know that ARE courageous, right?