Do you find yourself in a hurry much of the time? When we are in a hurry, we tend to lose sight of the people and things around us. I had an experience when traveling through an airport in Atlanta, Georgia that reminded me of how easy it is to walk over someone rather than help them.
While riding up an escalator to get to the gate where my flight was scheduled to leave, I noticed a lady well up in front of me. It was apparent, even from a distance, that she was very stressed. She had three small children with her. One of them was a baby she was carrying. She was struggling to keep the other two near her as they enjoyed the experience of being in an Airport and riding up an escalator. Did I mention she was also carrying multiple bags? She had two of three bags on the escalator step in front of her. I could see beads of sweat on her forehead as she tried to keep everything together.
What surprised me happened when they reached the top of the escalator. She made her best attempt at pushing the bags that were in front of her with her feet as fast as she could get them out of the way. At the same time, she was making sure that the two children she wasn’t holding got off the escalator without tripping or falling. Although watching her orchestrate her family’s movements was interesting, that was not the part that surprised me. What surprised me the most was all the people that were behind her on the escalator who stepped over her children, bumped into her and her children, and gave nasty looks and comments as they walked past her family. No one at that moment appeared to have any compassion regarding her situation.
When I got to the top of the escalator myself, I asked if I could help carry anything to her gate. What I found out was that she didn’t know exactly which gate she needed to go to. She offered me a couple of bags to carry, and we walked to a customer service desk. We found out where she needed to go and once there she was able to sit down with her family. Her smile, thanks, and relaxed look on her face were more than worth the time I took out of my schedule. How much extra time did it take me? No more than five minutes! I am confident that many of those people that walked over her had more than five minutes they could have given. Many of them probably hurried to their gate at the airport and then sat there for twenty or thirty minutes before they even had to start boarding.
What would you have done in the same situation? Although I stopped and helped her in that particular situation, I’m sure I have walked by many others in similar situations. Why would we do this? Sometimes it’s, because we think, were in too much of a hurry to help. Sometimes we’re just not looking for opportunities where we can help others.
I have to challenge myself on a regular basis to look for opportunities every day to help others. I would challenge you to do the same. When you get up in the morning, think about a way you plan to help someone before the day ends. Also, remind yourself to look out for opportunities throughout the day and respond to them. There is someone that will be better off if you take the time to help him or her today.