Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Life Behind the Face...

...and sometimes questionable actions.

We all say that when passengers check their luggage, they also check their brains. They do crazy things. Sometimes they're nice, fun, respectful. Sometimes they sit there and stare at the back of the seat (read: David Putty) and sometimes they are unnecessarily rude. You have to just sit back and laugh.

But at the end of the day, the majority of the 400 + faces that I see a day are just those...faces. You just don't know what they've been through, whats going on in their lives. We maybe get to know 1, maybe 2 people per day, and most of the time everything is just fine and dandy. Going on vacation, going to see family, business meeting, whatever.

But then there are the folks who are going for a funeral. Just the other day my co-worker got to talking to a guy who was just going through a divorce, had been sober for 20 years, and on the plane was drinking a bloody mary. He cried right there. Gave her a hug on his way out.

I once ran into a couple who were flying into Philly to pick up their daughter's ashes. She had been stabbed to death.

On take-off one day, I noticed a lady crying. I'm not the best consoler, so I looked at the girl I was working with and ask how she was at consoling. She did a great job. The lady was on her way home for her father's funeral. On her way out she told the other flight attendant that she must be an angel.

These are just a few. And it can be so easy, when someone who is having a crappy day snaps at you for no apparent reason, to be rude right back to them, or to just think they are great big jerks. Sometimes you have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

There are so many more that we don't get to talk to. I've even gotten to know a couple passengers outside of work. It's just wierd. Here you were, just happened to get on my flight, just a face that entered my world for such a short period of time, the right words were said, and much more is known. Its just crazy to sit back and look around and wonder about all the stories.


jch said...

Jeremy, this is really insightful and incredibly perceptive. The work you do is so much more than work, right? May God use you and work through you.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, what a wonderful post. You've discovereed a great truth: that every person lives with an epic tale trapped deep inside. As we cross paths with others we're often too busy with our own crisis or desires of the moment to notice, much less to care and get involved. I applaud you.

Dav said...

That's a great post, man. I'll keep this in mind with my passengers!

Ashley said...

I have thought about this since I first began working with the public (Subway!) in high school. It's really overwhelming if you let the concept of unlimited public access hit. Our job of opportunity is a blessing. It reminds me of the song "Different People" by No Doubt.