It isn’t even noon yet but already, I’ve had the most wonderful day in Dallas. It started in Houston, with my taxi arriving in perfect time, my ride to the airport flawless, and only one minor tangle with TSA (which was significantly better than them discovering my thought-to-be lost swiss army knife yesterday).
As I boarded the plane, I had an aisle seat in a grouping of three. A young girl was sitting on the other end and the seat in the middle of us remained empty. “Boy did we luck out!” I said and she smiled timidly back at me. She was somewhat silent throughout the flight so I leaned back and caught a quick nap, not wanting to disturb her.
When we landed she looked up and said “Excuse me ma’am, can you look at this and tell me what gate I’m supposed to be at?” I looked down at her sheet and asked “Is someone going to be waiting for you?”
She went on to explain that she was a foster child, sixteen years old, and this was her first flight. She had a case worker waiting for her at the gate. I assured her of how to get there and she still seemed worried so I just said “Tell you what, why don’t I just walk you there? I’m going anyway.” She was the most beautiful girl and when she relaxed and smiled it really shown through. As we started walking, I introduced myself and she gave me her name. We turned a few corners and she said “I would have never been able to find this on my own.” I assured her that she would be a pro at it eventually and that traveling alone was still pretty new to me, too.
She fell into a quiet step beside me and I got to wondering if she might be hungry. “Have you eaten?”
“No Ma’am, I think my case worker might get me something”
I had been thinking Starbucks and seeing it up ahead I said “Do you like Starbucks? Come on, I’ll get you something” We walked in and she admitted she had never been to a Starbucks before. She was so sweet as she looked over the menu but I could tell it wasn’t striking her fancy.
“You know what, there is a McDonalds around the corner, how does that sound?”
Her bright smile had me turning for it immediately and as we waited for our order I asked her if she liked to read. “Oh yes, Ma’am. I love to read. I read anything I can get my hands on”. I pulled my single copy of the book out of my suitcase and handed it to her. “Would you like a copy of my book? I’d love you to have it if you’d like one.” She lit up as she took it and said in a surprised voice “OH! It’s a cookbook! I LOVE to cook!”.
I asked if it would be alright to sign it to her and a few minutes later helped her find her case worker and watched her walk off with her McDonald’s bag and her book.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much meeting her meant to me and getting to do something for her. What a wonderful start to my day.
As I got on the bus to take me to the rental car place, two very nice men in business suits immediately greeted me and said we had been on the same plane together. They asked what I was in Texas for and I told them about the book. They immediately asked after it and I showed them photos and such. They wrote down where they could get it and asked if there was a way I could sign them for their wives and co workers. I pulled out my book plates and ended up signing seven or eight personalized ones to go in the books they want to order. As we got off, they handed me their business cards. They both own a company that sells table linens and they want to provide me with anything I’d like to use.
You know, things like this are not a coincidence.