Joe and I were lucky because we were flying home and Toronto was where we got off. Many, many, other people on the plane weren’t so lucky, they were flying through Toronto and needed to make connections. The length of delay meant that there would be tight connections at best and missed at worst.
I never watch television or movies on the plane, I have a book and that’s movie enough for me. What I watch is the map that’s provided as one of the video options.
As the plane got closer, the atmosphere on the plane grew tense. Around me people who had been watching movies flipped over to the map as well. We all watched the approach to Toronto and the time passing. Whispered conversations were being held by couples and by parents and children. There was a sigh of relief when the plane touched down.
About five minutes before landing, there was a passenger announcement. We were told the gate we were arriving at and the gates of soon to be departing flights to varying places, all of which were destinations for those who had connecting flights. Pens quickly wrote down the gate numbers and a diversity of Gods began to hear fervent prayers.
As we pulled to the gate, there came another announcement. this one was quite solemn in tone. Everyone picked up on the seriousness in the tone of voice.
I could hear in the voice a tiredness. I understood this. I’ve been on planes before when this request was made and virtually no one complied.
Some passengers were so anxious to get off that they were getting up and getting luggage as we were pulling into the gate. They were told firmly to sit down until the plane stopped moving.
And people did. I turned to see the aisle full of people running, actually running, down it towards the door and people standing, waiting, some calling out “Good Luck!” to their fellow passengers who zipped past them. I’d never seen this before. I’d never seen a whole plane, filled to the brim, let those who needed fast exit have fast exit.
Just a moment of time.
Just an exercise of patience.
And a touch of restraint.
Can communicate who we are in powerful ways.
We, collectively, had the opportunity to allow people to move on in their journeys, to make it home to spouses and kids, to make up lost time.
It’s a small moment but it will be a big memory.
As we always get off last, I saw the Toronto bound passengers faces as they disembarked.
And it’s a good story.