Last week, my family and I were heading out of town for a family vacation. We arrived at the airport and were checking in at our gate. My kids, ages 11 and 8 were at the counter helping us prepare our bags for departure. At the next counter, I overheard a young women, probably in her mid 20’s, explain that she had just lost her wallet and while she had her boarding pass she had no other identification or credit cards. She asked the agent if the$15 she owned for her one piece of luggage, could be charged to a credit card on file. The agent called over a supervisor to assist in the situation.
My heart went out this this women. I could only imagine a day of traveling with no money in my pocket and no options for something to eat or drink. I guess that is the Jewish mother in me. Also, I wondered how they would clear her through security without ID.
As we walked away from the counter, I approached her and handed her a $10 bill. I said “I hope this makes your day easier.” My daughter hadn’t overheard the interaction and asked why I was giving this stranger money. I explained what I had witnessed. My daughter questioned how I knew she was legitimate. I explained that I didn’t think anyone would try to make up that kind of a story at the airport these days in hopes that someone would overhear and give them a few bucks. It’s just way to complicated. The women passed us again on the way to security and thanked me gratefully.
While speaking about the situation with my daughter, I realized that $10 is not a huge amount of money. It was an amount I was willing to gamble on this stranger’s predicament. In my gut, I believed she was actually a person experiencing one of life’s less than optimum moments. I hoped that my small gift could somehow change how that day turned out for her. Perhaps when she remembered the day it wouldn’t be as much about the hassle of losing her wallet but about the acts of kindness she encountered along the way.