Anyone who has traveled a lot knows that airline travel can be very annoying. You are at the mercy of the airliners and Mother Nature. When booking flights, I would pay more for nonstop flights. But that is more difficult when you’re not flying to major cities. If you need to switch planes, you will have the dreaded layover.
The airport layover can be frustrating but it can also allow for people watching. I love people watching, especially at airports. It’s a mass frenzy of people in motion. Are they coming or going? Business or pleasure? I’ve had the pleasure of seeing athletes, politicians and movie stars during layovers. My favorite sighting was in the Atlanta airport at a bookstore. I was standing there and, suddenly, to my left, was the beautiful Andie MacDowell. Now, I have had a crush on her since I met her on the movie set of Groundhog Day, which was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, where I was working at the time. I still remember what she was wearing that day in the airport and I did say hello, and told her of our previous meeting. This was way before smart phones, so I don’t have a picture. But she was even more beautiful in person.
On my recent trip home from visiting some family in Raleigh, I had a layover in Charlotte. I was sitting in my electric chair and my sister was sitting by me at the gate. As I was looking around, I noticed a couple looking at me and the woman gave a nice smile. I smiled back, wondering if this was someone I had met but didn’t recall, or just someone smiling a heartfelt response to my condition. Suddenly, the couple walked toward me and the gentleman politely asked if I had ALS. Once again, before the ice bucket challenge this never happened and now it happens quite often. I responded yes, and he shared that he was recently diagnosed. I would not have guessed it, as he appeared normal from a physical standpoint. He asked me many questions and I freely answered them. It was a good conversation and I could sense he was concerned with what is ahead. Before we parted ways, his wife told my sister that this was a shot of adrenalin he needed. To see someone traveling, talking, and still living a meaningful life after seven years post diagnosis was just the shot of hope he needed. After his diagnosis, he didn’t think he would be around in 3-4 years and here I was! My sister told them about my blog and as fate would have it, they had been reading it for years. They couldn’t believe they had met and were talking to the author of jimsjourneywithals. Can you believe that?
I guess we were meant to meet each other that day. Me to give him some hope where there was despair and him to make me realize that I am making a difference in the lives of many I don’t know and will probably never meet. So don’t dread the airport layover as it may change your life profoundly, or at the least allow you to meet an actress of your dreams!