The kindness of stangers

My daughter was recently traveling alone.  She called to chat briefly while waiting for her flight. We hung up after a few minutes as she prepared for the boarding call.  About ten minutes later I was surprised to receive another call from her phone. This time, however, it was a stranger and my heart sank. A stranger had found my daughter’s cell phone in a very busy airport.

We hear about the theft of these desirable smart phones, the indifference of people, or just the hustle bustle of our daily lives in today’s world, but a woman took the time to call the last number dialed on a found cell phone-the number listed as mom. I was able to give this kind stranger limited information, no flight number, only the destination, the approximate flight time, and which airline. I also gave a description and her name. We quickly hung up while this woman hurried off in search of my daughter. No luck. In no time at all, she called me back to say mission not accomplished but that she would keep trying. This traveler had just arrived at her destination and of course was anxious to move on with her own plans. I thanked her profusely and she said she was going to try again to locate my daughter. Needless to say I was feeling some anxiety at this point. Sure enough, I received another call from this Good Samaritan who told me the flight had boarded and she was not able to find my missing daughter. (Although she is a 35-year-old woman, a mother always worries-right?) If all else failed, she would hand the phone to the gate agent.   About 15 minutes later, my daughter called, saying she was on the plane, phone in hand, and they were about ready to take off. It was not until my daughter arrived home that I was able to grasp the extent of what this traveling stranger had gone through to return the phone to its owner.

The mysterious woman had waited at the gate after the flight boarded. When my daughter was on the plane and realized she did not have her phone, she pushed past boarding passengers (annoyed passengers I am certain) and rushed back to where she believed she had left her phone. She thought she had heard her name called out but did not stop to investigate. Defeated, she headed back to the plane to reboard and there, waiting patiently, was the kind stranger, awaiting  her return and to hand her the phone. She must have seen her exit the plane, called out, and receiving no response, knew she would be back before the departure. With the flight about to leave, there was no time to exchange names or do more than a quick thank you before both women headed off in different directions. I hope she knows how much her kindness was appreciated.

Many times in life we are given the opportunity to offer kindness to a stranger. I want to use this as a reminder of that. May the next time I am able to show an act of kindness-even in some small way- I will step up and take that offer. Will you?

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