Do you ever get irritated at the pokiness of the security screening process in our post 9-11 airports? Ever get annoyed with buddy who tries to walk through the scanner with a pocket full of change, a big watch and a cell phone only to be told to backtrack empty into the tray and try again? Doh! Or get a bit perturbed when they scan and search polite little old ladies? Maybe I just twigged your own story?
I was on a 6 am flight back from Belfast. The lines were long in what I call the cattle pen. (I get flashbacks to the family farm when we ushered beef cattle onto trucks with their “one way” ticket.)
I was very aware that boarding time was ticking down as I got to the head of the line and the xray table. I had already cleaned out my pockets as I pride myself in getting through the metal scanner “clean.” My coat was off and my laptop out of the bag 5 passengers before. If only buddy with the change collection would take a lesson.
My body got through but my goodies laden bag got the old suspicion laden question, “Is this your bag sir?” In for the full meal deal, I fear.
I tried to be patient, really I did, as every nook and cranny of my bag was poked and prodded. Just when I thought it was over….the dreaded sniff test aka, the full meal deal. Change of gloves and another eternity taking measurement.
At least it took long enough to allow for an intuitive flash that went like this. I asked the question to myself. What are the choices? To be resentful or be grateful. I chose the latter and when she finished and handed back my boarding card I looked her in the eye and said, “I want to thank you for your diligence in keeping us all as safe as possible.”
She looked a mildly surprised and replied in a precious Irish accent, “We don’t often get many people thanking us.”
There might have been a time where I could have quipped, “I bet you don’t” But that was not the nature of the connection. The nature of the connection was a feeling of mutual appreciation and a pure intent of offer a sincere acknowledgement.
I felt better, she felt better. The world is right for just a moment as I went along my merry way. How much did it cost in money or in time? Priceless!