I arrived at LAX more than an hour and a half before my flight. “Impressive,” my internal self-chatter beamed. I usually cut it a little closer to the wire giving myself an hour tops to wait, but this was somewhat of a mother’s day surprise so I didn’t want to take any chances.
My preparation rewarded me with one of life’s simple, but oh so prized gifts – friendship. Huh? In an airport? Yes, even amidst the thousands of strangers scrambling to and from Los Angeles, I found camaraderie in more ways than one.
When I was printing my boarding pass I noticed a young woman appearing very stressed and upset while searching for an airline employee to help her. Though I appreciate the efficiency airports are striving for with “self” check-in, there also seems to be less staff members available should an issue arise and you need more than just yourself to check-in. I also enjoy human interaction, so I am put off sometimes when companies plop self-kiosks everywhere; ringing up and bagging my own groceries may save the store time and money, but I can’t say the same for my pocket and watch. I also like to meet the people that work where I shop, or eat, or fly. I could go on, but I won’t. Back to the upset woman.
I really wanted to make sure she was okay – but, I didn’t. I self-talked myself out of it saying, “I am sure she is okay and it is not really my business.” So I got my security x-ray and rolled my carry-on toward the gate. I stopped for an Americano at Starbucks (and yes, I waited in the line of, I am not kidding, 50 people.) Standing there I saw the same young woman who was nearly in tears just fifteen minutes ago. Now, I thought, I better ask her how she is doing. Life presented me with a second opportunity to reach out and just seeing her again at one of the busiest airports in the world probably meant I should accept the nudge.
“Are you doing alright now?” I blurted. “Yes, I just had a horrible morning. I woke up late only to find I had lost my I.D. the night before, and I missed my flight by 15 minutes” she said. “I’m so sorry,” I said and then she jumped in line with me. We chatted about her standby situation, weekend plans, and then a million other things. Turns out, not only is she a really nice person but she lives just a few miles away from where I live and we are right around the same age. We exchanged numbers and have plan on meeting for lunch soon.
Okay, so here is the kicker. While in line with my new pal, I see another young woman who I think I went to high school with. I briefly Facebook stalked her to see if her status mentioned LAX, visiting boyfriend, vacation…any code words that may indicate she was at the airport to spare me of any embarrassment in assuming we knew each other. Aw, heck with it. I decided I would call out her name, and if she responded by looking about for the weirdo saying her name, then great, I was probably right. I did, she turned around, and immediately we both recognized each other and squealed at the coincidence of us both being in the Starbucks line in the LAX airport at 7:15am on the same day….and on the same flight. Long story short, we had our seats changed and talked the entire way. It was the most enjoyable flight I have ever had. We made plans to meet up soon as she also lives in California.
What I learned at the airport on that crazy Friday morning:
- Don’t over think it. Whether you are reaching out to a new person you have never spoken to before, or attempting to reconnect with an old friend, don’t let your monkey mind talk yourself out of it.
- Just do it. I find sometimes I want stronger friendships or new friendships in my life. Soooooooo….. I want friends without stopping to take a moment to BE friendly? That does not make much sense. I am going to try and be a more proactive friend from now on and just say hi, invite someone new for dinner, whatever it may be.
- Keep your eyes open. Life offers beautiful opportunities everyday. Maybe not always in the form of friendship, but surely many chances to not honk your horn or to be silent as you gracefully allow a strnager to cut in front of you in the grocery store line.