It has been sometime since I have written in my blog, I believe almost a good three months. Recently I’ve been pondering things provoked by a friend, but thought I would share a story where I made a difference in someone’s life.
Yesterday I returned back from Shanghai, with my final destination being Columbus GA. Long story on why Columbus, it was over $3k cheaper and offered the routing I wanted through Atlanta (ATL).
I had a sinking feeling that my one checked luggage would not arrive due to the delayed arrival into ATL (yes, I connected in ATL), and short connection. For those that have not been to Columbus GA airport, it has two airlines, American Eagle and Delta. The primary travel out is military.
After the realization that my bag was in transit, I searched for a Delta employee. The only employee told me to wait for an employee at the counter. I noticed a young, 20 year old Army Ranger in training pleading with the TSA person checking luggage. He was trying to make the flight that the lone employee was boarding, but no one was at the counter to help. The TSA looked for the Delta person but came back and said that the person was busy loading the plane (one he was hoping to be on, and still 25 minutes before departure) and that he was screwed. He began to lecture him on why did he show up 35 minutes before and he should have at least 90 minutes. He had no checked luggage, a laptop bag and a military backpack. Again, visit Columbus GA and you will understand why a person can arrive before departure, it’s the kind of airport where TSA opens up the gate area for a specific flight. It was the last flight out for the day, around 5pm.
Randy arrived up in Columbus to fly me back to Dekalb Peachtree Airport (PDK). After some conversation, we offered to fly him back with us to North Atlanta and drive him down to the airport to make a 10pm flight to Houston. We made it back to PDK in fairly good time and learned that he was flying home for the holiday weekend to do the final touches on planning his wedding with his fiance. His name is Manny, twenty years old, from Texas and engaged.
From PDK we zipped down to ATL, stopped and bought him a bite at Quizno’s and delivered him to Delta. With my younger brother serving for years in the military, helping out a person serving our country is the least we could do, a flight, a car ride and a meal.
Had anyone at Columbus airport, whether it be TSA or a Delta person shown compassion for this person, a lot of headache would have been avoided for this guy. Delta charged him a fee to drop the first flight and only pick up the Houston portion. On my flight to CSG, the flight attendant asked everyone to give a clap to each service member that deplaned before the rest of the passengers. The inverse, a kid trying to get home to see his family, attend a bon fire in his honor and plan his wedding over a short 4 days home. We thanked him for his service to our country and wished him luck.
I was a bit disheartened how everyone brushed him off, but I look back, a person who all I know as Manny, made it home to Houston. I looked back on my 24 hours awake yesterday, the exhaustion bouncing around Atlanta, but it really is about going above and beyond each day.
My goal in life – “Each day when I awake I know I have one more day to make a difference in someone’s life.”
James Mann (born 1946);