On my way home from a recent business trip, I found myself listening in to a fellow passenger’s conversation while lingering in the ‘C’ line (the result of forgetting to check in early for my Southwest flight to from O’Hare to Dulles). I had left my earbuds at home, so my entertainment was the real people nearby instead of my usual selection from Audible.com.
A woman in her late 70s was talking with a man and another woman – who appeared to be about 20 years younger – and they were telling her that ‘Jackie’ was going to meet her in in DC. The older lady seemed calm but slightly confused. “Where is Jackie going to meet me?” she asked, and the younger woman responded with “in Washington”.
I moved in and inserted my nosy self.
“I’m on the same flight to Dulles. Would you like me to help get you to Jackie?” I asked. “I could call or text someone when we land.”
All three of them looked at me, nicely, but were clearly not interested in my offer.
“That’s very sweet of you, but she’ll be fine,” the younger woman said.
The older lady looked at me and added, “thank you dear.”
I have never been the last person to board a plane, but this time I was. As the gate agent swiped my C25 boarding pass, I let him know. “I’ve never been the last one to get on. Do I get a prize or a free drink?”
“Nope, but you won’t have to choose your seat,” he smiled. “This flight is fully booked and there will be only one left.”
Actually, it was completely fine. I like being at the front of the plane so that I can get off fast and there was a middle seat in the 3rd row waiting for me. We were in the air and landed later without a hitch.
When I got off the plane, I started looking for a sign to guide me to the exit. Heading there, I looked up to see the older lady whose conversation I’d been eavesdropping on earlier standing under a departing flights list, her purse in her hand and looking around expectantly.
“Hi,” I greeted her. “I met you in line before we took off. Have you heard from Jackie?”
“Do you know Jackie?” she asked.
“No, but I am glad to help you find her. Where did you agree to meet?”
“In Washington?” was her reply.
“Was she going to meet you at the plane or at baggage claim?” I inquired further.
“I don’t know.”
“Why don’t you come with me and we will go to baggage claim together and find Jackie?” I suggested.
“That would be nice,” she said as we headed to the escalator. “I’m meeting her in Washington,” she repeated.
The escalator brought us down a level where we had a choice to go left or right. There was a variety of signage and it took me a few seconds to determine that a right turn was in order. Then there was another choice of escalators up or down. Down was correct. Then another turn and a choice of trains. On the train to baggage claim I realized I did not know this lady’s name.
“Thank you for letting me take you to baggage claim,” I offered, thinking she must be a bit embarrassed. “My name is Becky.”
“I’m Doreen,” she said smiling. “How do you know Jackie?”
– Becky Sharpe, President & CEO
Find out what happened next in Part. 2!