A note on kindness

The morning did not go as planned. Neither did the evening. And the afternoon? Well, it was better than any other time today, but frustrating none-the-less. So you can imagine that when my friend texted me asking “how’s things?” two hours in to my flight delay, stuck in the Montreal airport lounge, I needed to pause before reacting with a “1/10”. 

It’s 23h17. All I want is to go to bed. And the only thing between me and that bed is a 19 minute flight on a plane that makes a New York subway feel Art Deco. 

I had a less-than-productive weekend, missing a major deadline and underforming in multiple life domains. I have an 8am shift working with sick infants and children, who might as well be cats and dogs – their diseases are so different from the heart attacks and stabbings I deal with in the adult world, and as bad as this may sound, you get in more trouble if a kid bounces back than you do if you innapropriately discharge and adult. 
The stakes are higher and my competence lower. The stress is real. 

Not to mention the need to wrap up a project that is far beyond its initial scope, so complex I can barely wrap my head around it, and which will likely reflect heavily on me – one way or another. 

So, suffice to say, I’m feeling rather unlike myself. And I really want to go to bed. 

The lounge agent walks up to me. There’s only 3 of us left and she remembers my name. “Your flight will be delayed a bit longer” she says apologetically.

“That’s ok” I say Canadianly. 

It’s not, but it is, I guess, so whatever. See, 10 years of working as the guy who’s supposed to make your day less bad, and a certain emotional resonance is automatic. I can’t even be pissed off. Or maybe I’m too tired to care. 

She smiles at me, and I smile at her, and I thank her for telling me her airline sucks and wish her a good evening. She cocks her head. She seems stunned. I wonder for a moment if I spoke in a sarcastic tone and offended her. 

She thanks me for wishing her a good night, like I had discovered the Rabies vaccine and her child was bitten by a stray dog. I actually thought she might shed a tear. 

Later, I walk past her to get to my gate. “Check in at the desk – they have a new boarding card for you” she says with a wink. 

1F. Business class. On a 19 minute flight aboard a CRJ705. Its not much. It really isn’t. 

But in a day that makes you feel like a decrepit lemon under a junkyard wrecking press, it’s a much-welcome gift – a reminder that kindness can change your world, and maybe someone else’s, if only for 19 minutes. 

I’ll be sure to pass it on – maybe at work, with the scary children, which I have to attend to in a little less than 7 hours. 

“Madames et monsiours, votre commandant ici, bienvinue à d’Ottawa.”