Ren's Ramblings & Writings

Contemplations on things tangible and intangible

Monday, November 29, 2010

My revised letter to the airport service about an employee who is an angel

I revised this letter from the original letter sent to the airport service company and public affairs office of that airport, because I recognize that every organization is made up of people, and that we, being the humans that we are, sometimes make small, but far-reaching mistakes, that do not necessarily reflect the nature of the organization. I do, however, want to recognize the angels who help us in seemingly small, but "huge" ways:

XXX Airport Services

cc: Airport Public Affairs
To whom it may concern:

I flew from Denver, Colorado to Marquette, Michigan and back on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, to bring my recovering father from a skilled nursing facility to stay with me at my home. This letter is not meant to describe how I felt the airline ruined my trip, causing distress and making significant mistakes; rather, this letter is to express sincere gratitude and respect to the young lady who truly cares about people, exceeding at what many others, would ever do to assist another. This is, after all, the season for such thing.
The day I purchased the tickets, I immediately requested for wheelchairs to be available at every connecting flight gate for my father. I also verified twice earlier on the day of our trip that the request was ordered and that wheelchairs would be at each arrival gate. Each airline representative assured me that my request was in the system and that a wheelchair would be at the gates to help us.
The airline employee at Marquette issued only my boarding pass for the flight from Marquette to Detroit, and would not issue my boarding passes for connecting flights, even though he gave my father his boarding passes for all his flights, contributing to my distress. He did, however, assure me that a wheelchair would be ready in Detroit.
Needless to say, we arrived in Detroit late, with only fifteen minutes to spare, and there was no wheelchair at the gate to help us. Knowing we could not move quickly and that I lacked a boarding pass for the connecting flight to Minneapolis, I was in tears, and could barely breathe. I was prepared to stay overnight in Marquette due to weather; we have family there; I was not prepared to keep my medically recovering father overnight in Detroit for who knows how long, due to airline employees dropping the ball. I was having a physical anxiety attack.
The airline staff at our Detroit arrival gate did not chatter; they immediately requested a wheelchair and communicated to the connecting flight’s gate staff. Within a few minutes, airport services employee Angela C. arrived with a wheelchair, loaded my father and we began running to the gate, where our flight to Minneapolis was due to leave within minutes. She stated that she had not seen our wheelchair request in the system. Knowing we had little time and that I lacked a boarding pass, Angela was honest; we would likely miss the flight. She did not believe that we would make it across the airport in time. Never-the-less, Angela C. ran at full speed, pushing herself and my father on a wheelchair. When we reached an elevator, having missed an airport shuttle, and noting that I was struggling with the run, she put my overnight carry-on on the lower rack of the wheelchair, and off we ran, with her pushing close to 175 pounds on the wheelchair.
As we ran up to the gate, I identified myself, and the airline representative had both our boarding passes ready and ushered us onto the plane. The door to the plane closed just after we boarded. Thanks to Ms. C., with the assistance, of course, of diligent airline gate representatives, we made it across the enormous airport in impossible time, and I had the boarding pass I needed to get on the plane with my father for the next leg of our trip.
This was not the end of airline mishaps or my anxiety, but Ms. C. impacted our night in a tremendous way, running her hardest, physically pushing an old man, and mentally pushing me, an exhausted, frustrated, and miserable traveler, to a gate she never believed we would reach on time. She pushed herself because, even if we had not made it on time, she would have done her best to help us; that is huge, unforgettable and uncommon. The airline representatives acted silently, but Ms. C., despite being realistic, helped us reach what seemed an impossible goal, and was enthusiastic for the entire run.
I wish to recognize airport employee, Angela C., and others like her. Most of us do not write letters expressing our gratitude, though, I am certain that true caring like hers does not go unappreciated. She is truly an angel, an amazing person, and I wish her the absolute best. Her kindness is uncommon and heart-filled and genuinely caring. Angela C. is a name I will not soon forget; a heart who truly pays-it-forward for the benefit of others. This is the season for gratitude, for sincerely considering others, especially others who serve us; her contribution may seem but a pin-drop in the long course of a life, but serves us in such enormous ways. Perhaps if we write more gratitude letters, we will experience more to be grateful for. At the very least, we can learn to focus on the good rather than the bad or negative.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in (brought to you from navy_smurfette) via ATroopsGirl

See ATroopsGirl Here.

1.what’s the nicest thing a MILSPOUSE has ever done for you?
A former MilSpouse babysitter kept my young son twice for two weeks while my husband was in Korea so I could attend OCS and another time while I attended another military school in other states.

2.How often do you drive faster than the speed limit?
I agree with ATroopsGirl: Aren't speed limits are really just suggestions?

3.Did you have a nickname in school? If so, what was it?
Must I? I didn't have any say in choosing them (yes, that's plural). One was beaners (good luck figuring that out, I'll never tell) and Jabber Jaws (remember the cartoon shark of the late 70's?)

4.If your life was a book, what would the title be and how would it end?
Coyote Medicine (learn about coyote and you'll understand). Well, in many native stories, the coyote gets the short end of the stick, but, my story will be high energy, with coyote crossing the finish line alongside the roadrunner!

5.Look back (in your planner if you have one) to September 14th… what did you do that day?
I took a dear friend (my 'adopted mom') to a healer for Reiki and Shamanic Soul Retrieval, and then out to lunch. Had an FRG meeting that evening too...

Questions from last week:
1.What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

When I was 18yo, stationed in Germany I went to a concert in Frankfurt with friends. We'd taken the train, 6 of us on two different group tickets based on when we had to return for duty. I was on the ticket going back the same night because we had to be on duty early in the morning. We'd bought our concert tickets separately, and were separate in the concert hall, so we were going to meet at the train station. I could not find the right track, and missed the train. In 1987, there were no German banks (that I knew of) that accepted American ATM cards, I had no extra cash (spent it in the concert), and no credit cards. I sat outside the train station crying, scared to death.

Some homeless people asked what was wrong and I explained, in broken, blubbering German, my dilemma. These wonderful people gathered together all their coins so that I could use a German pay phone to call my unit and get help. Talk about paying it forward!!
2.If you are having a hard time going to sleep, what do you do to help yourself?

I use sublingual melatonin and my IPOD full of meditations!
3.Name something that makes you wish you were a kid again.

Sandra Bullock said in the movie Hope Floats that "Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome." I never look back.

4.What is something you never believed until you experienced it?

Ditto with ATroopsGirl: "I never understood that unimaginable love that you can have for your child. I had wondered how it was possible to love someone immediately, at the first moment of meeting. There is nothing more amazing.
5.What can’t you say “no” to?
--too many things to list... when my niece wants something... chocolate.... a good wine... a good microbrew... rescuing animals....
just to name a few

Missed Wordless Wednesday this week! Here goes!

"I know you're up to something in there."

more thought-provoking from Military SpouseBuzz-What Stresses YOU Out?

Yet again, other military spouses are giving voice to all the demons that haunt me, and this topic vote-what-stresses-you-out.  The choices given include: dying, physical injury, finances, affects on children, loneliness, sexual frustration, fidelity issues, PTSD/TBI, communication, and loneliness.

Here's my original response:

None of those things are "fears" per se, for me. Dying is a possibility we all accept, which includes getting on the highway each day. Dying in combat at least has honor.

Physical injury is also a possibility we accept. Cross that bridge when we get to it.

Finances don't bother me.

I know the deployments and absences affect my boys. It's a frustration, but not a fear, because it's a fact with no resolution.

Loneliness-I have my own life separate from my marriage (involved in lots of activities and social things)

Sexual frustration-don't many of us have that even when they're home?

Fidelity issues-if he hasn't given me reason to not trust him, why would I distrust him just because he's gone?

PTSD/TBI are already a factor, that the Army is not dealing with. But they are, according to our family psychiatrist, treatable injuries-if the Army would actually treat them rather than cover them up with the bandaids of pills and counseling.
No, none of these are my overall problem. My problem is the fact that I run the show, I control the reins and make all decisions and I do independence really well. My problem is figuring out how to have him back in my everyday life once he's back from deployment-and worse than that, trying to figure out how to have him back in everday life when he's still not available daily because he's working long hours, out in the field, at a school, on 24-hr duty, or down range. How do you share the reins with someone who is still only home sporadically?

Other spouses had interesting, and just as thought-provoking responses, including Amy, who stated: "What I really find stressful about deployment is that it starts from the moment of notification, lasts through predeployment training, the deployment, and through reintegration," and Jen, who said "Communication issues, in all of their shapes and forms, are the most stressful... maybe because they are the most tangible," causing me to add another "two-cents:"
Ditto on so many things-commo is a huge factor that I hadn't thought of, I guess because I'm so accustomed to just steering clear of it to avoid further problems. But also the note above:
"about deployment is that it starts from the moment of notification, lasts through predeployment training, the deployment, and through reintegration."
That's incredibly true. I always say that he's got one foot out the door even before the orders get here, once he knows he's going. He got home one year ago from Iraq, and forget about reintegration-he's still got one foot out the door for Afghanistan coming next year, and they don't even have orders (though, I think Brigade did deploy already to set up shop). How do you focus on reintegration at all when he's always got one foot out the door (ranges, 24-hr duty, and long hours are, perhaps, just incidental to preparing for the next deployment).
When you can't focus on being a family, including ALL members, how can you be best friends? It's kind of like talking to that best friend from years gone; when you do talk, it feels comfortable, like yesterday, but, if you and that long-lost friend had to live under the same roof again after so much time apart, knowing one would be leaving again shortly, would you be as close? How do you make the best of the time you have when you don't feel like best friends anymore?

This is not all inclusive, but it's what I can do right now...