Of course the biggest perk of my job at the airport is the phenomenal money I make for what I simply do. It's not brain surgery but even took me a minute to feel comfortable and is pretty physical and fast paced. I've never done fine dining and quickly found out that even after being a server for almost thirty six years, had quite a bit to learn.
I even got to work with two of my three kids while there. TJ moved to Orlando but still work with my bestie, Massey and she has totally knocked it out of the park.
We've met some really big names and gotten to meet people from all over the globe but the ones who stick out the most in my mind are the people you've never heard of but have impacted me the most.
Case in point...
The host came up to me tonight at work, told me I had a man seated at table 220 and that he was blind. There were two Air Serve employees assisting him while in the airport but both sat at a different table away from him while he had dinner. I greeted him, immediately noticing the absolutely beautiful service dog laying under the table. He ordered a drink and when I brought it back told him was directly in front of him, guiding his hand to the glass. He was probably in his early thirties. I asked him what he was interested in eating and verbally guided him through our menu. He chose what to eat and after taking his order told him his guide dog was beautiful and had been sniffing both my shoes the entire time he was ordering, obviously smelling the three pups I owned. He smiled and said "His name is Mario".
Mario was a Yellow Lab with a light brown nose and happiest eyes I've ever seen. This guy's eyes may not work but Mario's sure did and more importantly worked for him.
I asked him how old he was? He said seven.
Mario trained for two years and had been with him for five.
Talk about Man's Best Friend!
We chatted more and told him I was a huge dog lover. I told him the hardest thing about seeing all the beautiful TSA dogs , Homeland Security dogs and Service dogs was not being able to touch or love on them.
By this time, Massey walked by as well while cleaning tables and stopped to admire...not touch. She told him he had a gorgeous pup.
He said "I've been told he has the most soulful brown eyes".
Whoever said that to him was spot on.
Then he suddenly called Mario into service and told him to sit up.
Then he unhooked Mario's harness and said "Go play".
And he did.
Massey and I both loved and hugged on him as he immediately turned into one of our own three idiots, spinning around in a circle one way and then the other. A younger couple (watching and listening to our conversation) was seated at a table a few feet away and Mario went over to wag hello as they both smiled and petted him as well.
Then just like that, the harness was put back on and Mario curled up under his owner's feet to lay down.
I thought that was amazing... until the next thing happened.
I saw one of the Air Serve guys get up and walk over to the guy's table telling him it was time to go to his gate for boarding so took the guy his check, telling him what was on it and how much it was. His tab was sixty seven dollars.
The customer got out his wallet, pulling out one bill at a time, feeling each with his fingers from corner to corner and handed me three twenties a ten and a five saying "Here's seventy five dollars, keep the change".
I was blown away.
It seems each different denomination bill has slightly raised marks along the corners and he read them with his fingertips. I've handled cash on a daily basis for almost forty years and never noticed any difference in the feel of a bill.
I was flabbergasted and not just with the extra eight bucks he'd left me on top of the eighteen percent added gratuity but with how when one sense is lost others are intensified.
I thought about that guy the rest of the night, as he left the restaurant with Mario leading him, while having one hand on one of the Air Serve guy's shoulder because of all the foot traffic and constantly changing obstacles.
I thought to myself, there goes one terrific human being.
Those are the kind of people I've been lucky enough to meet while working at the world's busiest airport.
That's a "Life Changer" moment.
The problems and challenges we've been through these past ten years, pale in comparison to his and almost make me feel like a wussy.
It's been a total reaffirmation of what a lucky person I truly am, even with all the twists and turns along the way.
At least I could see, and now see more clearly.
It's not about what you have, it's about how you use what you do have.
I have a little over two months left at the greatest job I've ever had and can't wait to meet every fascinating person I can along the way.
Always, always try and remember that.
Til next time, COTTON