This is the first part a who-knows-how-long series recounting my trip to Houston this past summer. We begin with the first day of my trip and the story of Phyllis.
Thursday, August 6
I met Phyllis in the security line at the Denver airport. She was a very nice, albeit slightly confused, lady. She hadn’t flown for about 10 years. She didn’t know where to go or what to do. Her house sold in Salt Lake City, where she recently moved from, and she had to travel back for the closing and such. We discovered that we were practically gate neighbors (C 42 and C 48) and a friendship was born. Phyllis and I were both traveling alone, and I think we were both pleased to have made a traveling friend. I’m kind of disappointed we weren’t on the same flight.
We made it through security (where she forgot to take off her shoes and to be reminded by the TWA crew) and then proceeded to the trains (perhaps the most confusing aspect of DIA). She had never ridden a train inside of an airport before. I of course had to tell her the story of my crazy (and I say that lovingly) aunt who got stuck on the train in Dallas on the way to our family Thanksgiving. I told her that I think of Aunt Ann every time I get on the airport train–and now Phyllis will, too!
Once we made it to the C gates, we walked through the concourse and I pointed out her gate and told her how to check the departure boards. Then we said our goodbyes. My new friend was gone just as quickly as she had shown up. But she will not soon be forgotten.
Several times she told me that if she hadn’t found me, she didn’t know how she would have found anything. But in all honesty, she was just as much of a blessing to me. As an introvert who is also shy (double bonus, yay me) I don’t typically make connections easily. But our conversation flowed effortlessly and was never awkward. To this day I feel blessed that I was able to help her during a time that she needed a little help. In a time when she felt a little lost, and maybe even anxious, confused, and lonely, God placed me in the perfect place at the perfect moment to walk with her (literally) and help her on this leg of her journey. To know that in that moment, my life–my very existence– made a difference to someone else, was an incredible feeling. During my time with Phyllis, I wasn’t the quiet, socially awkward girl that I often see myself as. I was just a “normal” person helping out another person, making a human connection. And what a gift that was, to be able to shed that self-imposed label, even for a little bit.
I was truly inspired by Phyllis and thought of her long after we departed. I hope she had a safe trip to Salt Lake and that she found another friend on her flight to keep her company. God bless you, Phyllis, wherever you are today. I would be honored to meet you in the airport again one day.