Maybe some things are meant to be. I arrived at the Victoria airport really early for my flight to Calgary. When I checked in, I was offered the last seat on the next flight departing in 30 minutes. It was a regional jet, the kind with two narrow seats on either side of the aisle. My 6’3’’ self hunched over as I entered the plane and snuggled into the row one window seat facing the bulkhead beside a little old lady who commented on my obvious cramped leg room. The lone flight attendant on the flight tossed her coat across the two remaining seats across from us as if staking a gold claim.
It was the little lady who suggested that I ask about switching to the empty aisle seat across from us. I waited until the flight attendant started pushing her cart down the aisle and inquired as to whether she minded if I switch my seat to allow for the better legroom.
There was a cold silence and then she responded curtly, “I was going to sit there.” After another icy pause she said, “Oh, go ahead.” It was clear that either today was not her day or she slept through her customer service 101 training.
I moved her airline issued jacket over to the window seat and sat down to enjoy sticking my feet up the aisle. When her cart service concluded she plunked down beside me to do her books. She made a terse comment about having little time to get her paperwork done on short flights. After a time she hunched over and twisted her gaze out the window while slowly rubbing her forehead and back of neck.
“Do you want something to take away your headache?” I offered thinking of a special cure I had in my bag.
”No,” she replied, “It will go away on it’s own.” She shared that this was her 5th flight today and got up to tidy the galley.
Even though she was unresponsive to my offer to help I kept having a nagging intuition to do the right thing. I knew that in my bag and I had a distress headache cure. I just finished sharing 200 of them with hard working managers in high demand responsibility roles at a conference in Victoria. The preventative cure for her stress, as it was for the managers at the conference, was the healing power of humor.
When she sat with me the next time I held out a red foam clown nose and said, “This will help with your headache.”
“Are you kidding?”
“Yes I am kidding and I am joking, that’s the point,” I asserted, “laughter creates endorphins and flushes the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol makes your headache.”
“I can’t wear this. I have to look responsible.”
“Sure you can,” I insisted and held up my book to block any potential embarrassing passenger glances and she hunched over and put in the nose.
“Whoa, my head feels better already”, she observed after less than a minute. She chucked when I suggested she should do the next cart run with the nose on.
She introduced herself and we had a light hearted chat. She apologized for being out of sorts and she shared that the nose meant a lot to her because she had beaten nose cancer twice. Then she paused and said, “When you get off the plane are you going to disappear?” I must have look puzzled. She continued, “Like are you an angel that comes to earth to help troubled souls then when the job is done you go back up to rejuvenate until the next time.” She looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you. You were meant to be on my flight.”
I explained to her that actually I wasn’t meant to be on her flight and shared about the last minute change. But maybe things are meant to be especially if we listen to that still small voice of intuition that calls us to do the right thing.
When the plane landed we said thanks to each other. As I left I gave her my success quote card and she handed me her pen. At first I thought she felt obliged to reciprocate my gift gesture and that was all she had. It wasn’t until after read the inscription that it was clear that some things are just meant to be.
On her pen was a line from Psalm 91, “For he will command his angels concerning you.”