My sister was due to arrive at our airport at 10:30 PM and we were all expected to go for the ride in the 15-passenger van to meet her. She just likes that kind of thing. She usually waits for us on the sidewalk with her one small carry-on backpack, but this time she was nowhere to be found.
So we circled and circled and circled some more. The 17-year-old boy was driving and I intently watched the passengers as they greeted their family and friends for the holidays.
But there was one woman who especially caught my eye. She was a very old woman, with dark hair and a dark shawl covering her shoulders sitting in a wheel chair. Beside her, sitting on a raised wall, was a bored airport attendant, with an identification tag hanging around his neck, obviously there as an employee waiting with the woman for her family.
But she sat and sat and sat in the cold, as we circled, with no sign of her ride. I became lost in my thoughts about her and the other passengers I observed, but the 13-year-old boy broke me out of my reverie. He said...
"I really feel sorry for that really old lady in the wheel chair."
Others in the van agreed.
"Yeah, she's been there, like, the whole time we've been driving around," added the 14-year-old girl.
I agreed and also expressed my similar feelings.
"Well, I wonder when her ride is going to come, Mom," said the 13-year-old boy. "And I wonder what they would do if no one ever came."
I pondered that and realized that I had no earthly idea what the airport attendants would do in a situation like that.
The 14-year-old girl suggested that they might put her in a nursing home for the night, and I went back to my daydream state and thought that if I worked in the airport, I would offer her a place to stay in my home for the night. The expression of these thoughts continued as we circled around one last time, and as we neared the old woman again, we saw that the attendant had hopped off the wall and was wheeling her to a nearby vehicle.
The kids all expressed relief that her ride had indeed not forgotten her and as we continued down the lane a few feet, we saw my sister as well, on her cell phone, no doubt trying to reach us.
What struck me about this conversation was the kids' compassion as they thought of the needs and feelings of someone else. Sometimes I wonder if they are ever going to stop thinking of themselves first, but moments like these make me realize that they truly do have the light of Christ and are on the right track.
Just another blessing in disguise, attached to the fact that we had to circle the airport 7 times. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for a glimpse of my childrens' kindness I would not have experienced otherwise.