Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby on Board

Let me start by saying that traveling by plane is not my fave. The one time in my life that I got bumped up to first class, yeah, on that day traveling was my fave. But alas, complimentary champagne and mucho leg room is not typically in the cards for this gal, so I must rough it back in coach with the rest of the peasants like myself.

It's not that I mind flying per say, I just hate everything that goes along with it. Living in Rockford means that we get to spend an hour and a half in a car, or bus if you're really lucky, even before you are forced to mess with the crowds of O'Hare, long lines, security scans, etc... THAT'S the part that is not my fave. It's just all so exhausting. There's too many people with varying deadlines. There's the removing of shoes and standing barefoot on a floor that 25,000 people who may or may not have athlete's foot share with you. It's standing in a tube with your arms over your head while they scan you for God knows what. And it's the dreaded "zone" boarding which makes absolutely no sense to me. Ick.

With all that to say, I learned yesterday that traveling by air with a very noticeable baby on board (or in tummy) is not so bad really. Granted there was no champagne and I had peasant-style amounts of leg room, BUT people were actually really kind to me which can be a rarity in an airport. I began noticing on my trip to Charleston that strangers who would normally not give you a second glance as they hustled to and fro, actually noticed my bump and then met my eyes with a smile. Women's faces softened and men smiled and gave me their seat on the tram.

On my way home yesterday, I was shocked by how many people went out of their way to assist the pregnant woman traveling solo. First it was the sweet TSA man working the body scanner who stopped it to walk through to my side with a smile as he said "I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm not going to let you lift that suitcase up to the conveyor". He then waited until my bag came back through to place it back on the ground for me and said "I hope there's another gentleman from Charleston on your flight who will lift it into the overhead bin for you. Congratulations." A little kindness goes a long way and I will not forget his gesture the next time I see an expectant mom traveling alone.

As I boarded my first leg of the trek home, the flight attendant greeting us at the door of the plane said "how about if I put your bag in this closet with mine? That way you can deplane easily and grab it at the door." By this point I was all smiles and so very thankful as I had stressed for about an hour on how I'd lift that bag over my head. And on my last flight home from Atlanta, after lugging my 40lb suitcase by hand back 34 rows, a young woman in her 20's stood up from her seat and said "can I please lift that bag up there for you?" I hesitated as I've never been good at asking or accepting help when the man next to her said "here, let me do it." Again, my heart grew a size or two as I was exhausted by this point and just wanted to be home. They did not have to get involved but they did and I'm so grateful.

I've always heard the saying "it takes a village", but yesterday I truly felt like I was part of a village where rushed flights, packed deadlines and individual agendas slowed down just enough to say "hey, I SEE YOU. Let me help." All four of those people made a huge difference in my travel and although I don't know their names and their faces will eventually fade, I'll always think of them when I'm flying from here on out. You never know who might be anxious, overwhelmed or just tired. If you've got the extra energy and a minute or two to spare, let someone know "hey, I SEE YOU. Let me help." I can tell you from experience, they will not forget it.