Being of assistance. Let’s ponder that phrase.
My husband and I arrived at the Atlanta Hartsfield airport Monday afternoon, and the gate for our connecting flight to Southwest Florida was full, so we went and sat in another gate. These people were headed to Buffalo, New York. We were there for a little while and then the announcements began, you know: “now boarding section 1, 2, 3, and 4…” and the groups of people jump up and get in line. My husband wandered off at that point, and all of a sudden a woman sat down next to me in a bolting lunge.
She was crying.
I asked her what was wrong.
She said she was frightened.
I asked why.
She said she’d never been on an airplane before.
I leaned in close to her and told her everything would be fine. I explained that there are people on the airplane to help her and answer questions, that the wings look strange at different times in the flight, but this is ok, that the plane makes a lot of different noises, and that is ok, too. And, I said, it is good to sing a song. I began singing, “rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” from the Sound of Music. She knew enough of this song to nod, and wipe her eyes a bit.
Then she returned to the line. She waved bravely to me and I could see she was singing the song. Then she went through the door to the plane.
My husband and I sat at that gate for another 30 minutes or so, while the personnel called the final boarding, and the final, final boarding and then began to board the stand-by passengers.
I thought about the woman on the plane, singing that snippet of song over-and-over-and-over on the tarmac, bravely waiting for the plane to take off. I’d forgotten to tell her about this waiting.
Finally, the personnel closed the door to the plane. We had no windows to look out, but after a few minutes I knew the plane had “pushed back” out of the loading area and was making its way to the runway.
Sometimes, we provide assistance to complete strangers. We are being of assistance. Beings of Assistance = Angels.