I witnessed something upsetting (at least to me) today. On my way to my gate, I decided to get a coffee. I weaved through the lane markers, which in this case, was retractable webbing stretched between poles, until I was next in line. There were about ten people behind me, and I saw an airport employee push an elderly woman up to the counter beside me.
I was just about to indicate to the lady that she should place her order before me, when the woman behind me yelled out, “Excuse me, excuse me—do you see that there’s a line here?” Her tone was loud and abrasive.
The man pushing the wheelchair ignored her. The woman in the wheelchair who was probably in her late 70’s or early 80’s, glanced over at her, but didn’t respond.
You could visually see that the woman in the chair couldn’t control the movement in her extremities, as her legs and arms were twitching and moving. The woman behind me continued obliviously, “What’s the purpose of standing in a line, if you can just cut to the front of it?”
I was burning mad and was deciding what to say, when the woman in the wheelchair looked directly at her and calmly said, “Honey, I didn’t ask him to push me to the front of the line, it’s his job. He’s supposed to get his passengers through the airport as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The woman behind me babbled something that I couldn’t quite hear, but it was clear that her aggressive behavior was squashed momentarily.
The woman in the wheelchair turned to the man pushing her and asked if she could get him a coffee. He declined her offer with a smile.
She looked to me and said, “I’m sorry, I know you were next in line.”
I smiled back, and replied, “Oh, don’t worry about it—go ahead and order.”
She looked at me with appreciation. When her coffee was ready, I handed it to her, because the man behind the counter couldn’t reach out far enough.”
Where is human kindness? Why couldn’t that woman realize how hard it would be to maneuver a wheel chair through the narrow lanes? Does she mouth off when they allow people with disabilities to board the plane first?
Let’s work on being kinder and gentler! I was disgusted.