As my time working at the airport and living in Georgia comes to a close feel many emotions. I was terrified of even interviewing for the job and more terrified once I took it. It took me six months before I didn't feel like a complete fake but two years in, have learned was all meant to be and meant for me to experience.
First and foremost this job literally saved my family and allowed my husband to travel halfway across the country to accept another job for almost two years which pushed us even further ahead. I would have never been able to stay here and pay all the bills while he advanced with his own job in Texas if not for my job here, which dropped into my lap by way of a glowing recommendation a dear friend gave me to her higher ups at work.
Tia, you're a dear and thanks for urging me to apply.
Along the way at the airport have also been lucky enough to work with my oldest son for a short stint before he moved on to bigger and better things.
We had more than a few laughs together during his short tenure with me at the airport.
Case in point...
I will never forget our rides together to and from work when we both had to ride MARTA and the shuttle every single shift. You were put through the wringer riding rapid transit with me, especially with my fascination of all the other odd people we encountered. I'll never forget when I leaned over to you and thought was whispering when I said "Nobody puts Bobby in a corner" as tears ran down my face from laughter while taking this pic with my phone.
Or the time I was fascinated with the purse zipper. TJ kept telling me to put my phone down while filming when I finally pointed out the woman or even other passengers never once looked at me or even in my direction.
Then after mortifying my oldest son, got to do the same thing with my daughter.
Massey came on board almost as terrified as I had been but quickly blossomed into one of our best workers.
Massey has the unique quality of making everyone's day better. It's her forte' and greatest asset in life.
She has become a young adult I'm extremely proud of and am certain will go far in life, do great things and be a wonderful addition to society and the world.
She and I are so different yet so alike. She's so girly and I'm so...not.
But she loves an underdog (like me) and never considers herself better than them. I think the past half decade of growing up in our debacle of financial worry has taught her to take nothing for granted and be grateful for what you do have.
It's a given we love our fellow employees (the ones who work hard) but also know who the real heroes are.
It's the ones who don't make a lot of money yet make all the difference in the world to the people who do, like me.
The shuttle bus drivers who will take off for the terminal when you're running late even though the bus isn't full yet and get you to work on time. It's the TSA guy who asks "Where's the other Cotton?" when going through security if Massey isn't working that day. It's the woman who keeps the restrooms clean, leaning on her cart she pushes around all day cleaning up after women too lazy to wipe a toilet seat off after they pee all over it even though are paper covers in every single stall.
It's the man who is my own age, comes in every day with a smile on his face and does a thankless job for one tenth of the money I make... and happy to have the job.
How can you not pay it forward to these people?
The long gloves he had on were from a Haz/ Mat kit and the airport made him give them back. His apron was trash bags he draped around himself to keep dry while washing.
For less than twenty dollars I ordered him not only a pair of gloves even longer but an apron which wasn't (as I say) hotter than hell and made out of plastic garbage bags.
For Christmas, Massey and I bought him a plastic shield for his face. Servers sling silverware and dishes into the dish pit with no thought about what we're doing.
Try being on the receiving end of that for thirty minutes. I'd last about five.
Massey text me at work the other night. The aprons (I ordered two, one for another dishwasher) had arrived at the house.
I took them with me to work the next time Richard (dishwasher extraordinaire) was working. The other dishwasher was off that night but made sure his was put up in a secure place. This other dishwasher pulls at my heart strings just as much. He's around my age and came on board with us about six months ago. He suffered a stroke a couple of years back and lost his job. After what I can only imagine was quite a bit of therapy still has limited use of his right arm and hand but was hired at the airport as a dishwasher. He comes in and simply washes our seemingly unending pile of dishes with one hand. That, my friends is determination.
Anyway, Richard was beyond thrilled when I gave him the package containing the two aprons and gloves. I took a short video of him when he first tried out the new outfit, per his immediate instructions to do so.
When he sinks down low at the end is the exact position he scrubs dishes. When I showed this video to my younger son after getting home from work, Zach said "Well I guess it's a good thing you got him that face shield too".
Richard is the most humble person I've ever met and making him smile is worth millions to me.
He was in high spirits the entire night which in turn lifted my own. He works hard the entire shift and no matter how crazy or busy it gets, always has a kind word to say. I've never heard one negative word come out of his mouth.
It's simple things you do which mean the most to people.
Here's a picture of all the plastic garbage bags he used to wear, trying to keep dry.
Yep, he's cooler now and stays dry to boot!
Little things mean a lot.
Richard stopped me in the kitchen one night about a year ago shortly after clocking in, when he used to take twenty minutes to put on all his garbage bags. He asked me if I could use my iPhone to find him a video of a song he'd heard in the grocery store that day because he wanted to write down the lyrics, they spoke to him and he wanted to write them down.
When I showed him the video, he watched it silently and then said "That's what I'm talking about".
It was this video.
Life is very short.
There's no time for fussing and fighting...so think about what you're saying.
Til next time...COTTON