Please Fasten Your Seat Belts

Too many times, more than I can count, I hear someone say something negative about the people living in Florida.  I typically hear it from those living here, referring to other less favorable members of the population.  Maybe it is just me, or I must be living in an entirely different state all together.
Last week while parking in South Beach, I closed my door and heard a thump.  My intuition told me that I had dropped something.   Not listening closely enough, I simply glanced down before meandering over to the parking meter to feed her my quarters.   Just as I dropped the first dollar through, a gentleman riding a bicycle stopped at the side of my car.  He was leaning down by my car door and then he popped his head over the hood.
“Is this yours?”  He asked, holding up my wallet.
Continuing the feeding frenzy uninterrupted and without any trepidation before finally responding, I simply glancing over, I said, “Yes.  That is mine.”
He playfully waved it back and forth and after she was fully fed, I made my way back over to other side of the car where he was holding up my wallet with a big grin on his face.    “Do you want me to put it in the mail?”   He shouted rather softly.  “Give me a dollar.”
Without breaking stride, I reached out and retrieved my wallet with one open hand.   Opening the car door, he moved to the side, as I assured him I would be happy to give him a dollar.  For his kindness, it was the least I could do.   The only problem is I very rarely carry cash.
He was excited, asking me  to make it a good one.  His mind was going wild as he out loud began wondering if maybe there would be a $20 in it for him, or something even better as I searched my pockets but to no avail.   I apologized that I did not have any cash, he said it was ok and then he went on his way but not without first sharing some rather insightful advice.
The advice I shall not share, although I will share another story of someone who exemplified kindness in a rather extraordinary way.   It was from this past weekend’s trip to Pittsburgh to watch the football game.  I had one layover, which was in Newark before landing in Pittsburgh.
While the first leg of the flight was extremely smooth both literally and figuratively that was not the case for the second.  The saving grace for the final leg was being engaged in a rather deep spiritual conversation with the passenger next to me.  As is typically the case, I strike up a conversation with whomever I am around, so not surprising, I became instant friends with this total stranger.
Through the course of our conversation she confided to me her fear of blood. This led to another discussion about hypnosis and into past life regressions.  She discussed how she is vegan had never eaten meat, and I asked how she felt towards animals.  Not too surprising, she has a deep connection and retrieved her phone to show me pictures of hers.
Since we were engaged in discourse the focus was not on the plane until she announced “this flight is really bad” referring to the turbulence.
The screen of the phone was rather small.  Trying to make out her turtle as the plane moved up and down and side to side was enough to make me dizzy.   At that moment, I began sweating almost instantly.   Knowing it was going to be substantially colder in Pittsburgh than it was in south Florida I had a jacket on but had to quickly remove it.  I was burning up and in mid conversation, facing forward, closed my eyes and practiced deep breathing.   My stomach was almost as quickly quite nauseous.
By concentrating on the deep breathing and having my eyes closed I calmed my stomach down, at least for the moment. Both the sweats and the nauseousness seemed to subside so I opened my eyes, turned to my neighbor, and apologized for needing to turn away.  She said that was ok, she felt the same way.
The captain had been on the speaker minutes earlier informing the cabin that we were on our final approach and would be landing momentarily.   Feeling more than a little relieved to have made it, I breathed a sigh of relief.   It was a bit premature, though.
Within a heart beat, the nauseousness came back and I got physically ill just as the plane was about to land.   Not able to reach for the bag fast enough, it was not a pretty sight.   Luckily though, my savior in the aisle seat sprang into crisis mode and swiftly implemented an action plan.
We steadfastly reached the terminal, parked and she deplored me to stay “right there” as she was going to go to the restroom to get some paper towels.   She did.  And, came back empty handed. No paper towels.
Undaunted, she reached into her purse found what looked to be a shawl and began using it to wipe up the mess.  I began to protest knowing it was going to ruin her article of clothing, but before I even get the words out she knew what I was going to say.   “Don’t worry about it.”  Calmly, she replied to my silent remark.  “I can get another one.”
While I was preoccupied with my little mishap passengers were exiting the airplane, walking by wondering why I still remained sitting in my seat with my friend rushing through the front of the cabin.   She did find some paper towels, gave them to me and I was able to finally gather myself enough to get off the plane.
As we walked down the walkway, she remarked how green I still looked.  I assured her I felt as good as I looked, and she offered to buy me some ginger ale for my stomach.  I politely declined and said that I was fine.
Feeling rather embarrassed, I offered her my card which she took.   She said she would call me so we could go to lunch and continue our conversation about hypnosis.   That was the furthest from my mind at the moment and repeatedly thanked her for her generosity and apologizing for the rather unpleasant way to end our flight.
Our separate ways we went, but her kindness I will certainly remember for a long time. That won’t easily go away.  For someone who is squeamish about blood, she reacted to this with complete composure and made a very uncomfortable situation rather bearable.
There are random acts of kindness going on throughout the world, and in our lives every single day.  Maybe its just me, but I truly believe their actions should be recognized.   Their names may remain anonymous, even their faces unrecognizable, but it is their good deeds that should be what is remembered.
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