No one is ever their best self at the airport. Whether it’s you or the plane that’s delayed, you couple that with weather woes, crowds of people jockeying for place, everyone overpacking their carry-on luggage, and some screaming kids, and you’ve got a recipe for a nightmare. Sitting in an airport is anything but relaxing and uplifting.
That’s why it’s the little acts of kindness – the person who jogs up to bring you the item you dropped with a smile or the desk attendant who sees you’ve had a long trip and upgrades you to a better seat – that make all the difference.
With kids, it’s even worse. They’re in a new place, off their schedules, and no happier to be stuck sitting around than anyone else. But that means it’s the parents who have to hear about it. Pile some complaining, constant requests, or worse, wailing on top of an already uncomfortable experience and you’ve doubled the pain.
Then you have the people around you to worry about. Is my kid bothering them? How do I get them to stop screaming when I don’t even know what’s wrong or there’s no way out of the situation?
And, of course, the people around you aren’t happy to hear your kid scream, so they glare, huff, roll their eyes, or otherwise make you feel even worse (which you didn’t think was even possible at this point).
And who can blame them? A screaming kid at an airport is the last thing anyone wants or needs! You don’t know how long they’ve traveled or even if (and this happened in my presence once) a nearby veteran’s PTSD is triggered by that sound.
Often though, little kids are just curious. Maybe they want to talk to people and don’t understand that weary travelers aren’t at their best or most indulgent.
But one little girl in the Las Vegas airport really hit the jackpot in her quest to find a new friend. And since many of us know the airport as a less-than-kind place, her uplifting story quickly went viral.
Kevin Armentrout is a writer, speaker, and former U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran who was flying out of Vegas with his family, including his toddler daughter Carter Jean.
The little girl was “being her usual inquisitive self,” Armentrout said. She wanted “to meet and say ‘hi’ to everyone she could.” And that’s when a kind fellow passenger really went the distance.
Joseph Pat Wright from Oklahoma didn’t just give Carter Jean a perfunctory smile. According to Armentrout:
“He reached out and asked if she wanted to sit with him. He pulled out his tablet and showed her how to draw with it, they watched cartoons together, and she offered him snacks.”
The sweet scene no doubt melted some hearts nearby, but it has also garnered over half a million reactions, 27,000 comments, and 208,000 shares on Armentrout’s professional Facebook page where he posted the story along with this sweet photo:
“This wasn’t a short little exchange, this was 45 minutes. Watching them in that moment, I couldn’t help but think, different genders, different races, different generations, and the best of friends. This is the world I want for her.”
Indeed, in a world that feels like everyone is on opposite ends of something, it’s nice to see that if you look in the right place, you can find the interactions that will prove the critics wrong. That’s the world Armentrout wants for his daughter:
“In a country that is continuously fed that it’s so deeply divided by beliefs, I want her life to be filled with moments like this… not liberal or conservative republican or democrat, socialist or capitalist, just HUMAN.”
Sure, there will always be the ugliness. There will always be people who say “well if those people weren’t like that, we wouldn’t have a problem.”
There will always be people who want to categorize everyone immediately because they are afraid and it somehow soothes their fear to think they have someone pegged. But at the end of the day, those people only live in fear and anger and never get to experience the better moments.
Armentrout’s final words were in the hopes that Joseph would see the message and he thanked the man once again “for showing my daughter what kindness and compassion looks like. Continue to shine your light in the world.” He hashtagged the post with #HateIsLearned #LiveWithPurpose #BeRelentless
And it looks like the message got back to Joseph through his sister-in-law Linda Taylor who commented on the post.
Whether or not you ever get your own airport friend, it’s nice to know it’s possible and not all hope is lost.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.
Follow your friends or be the first to join our group