Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Lesson for the Younger Generation

One of my employees came in from her break and told me that an elderly woman was sitting in the terminal sobbing. I look out and sure enough there was. She was afraid the woman might react negatively if she asked her what was wrong so she volunteered me to go and inquire.

I go out into the terminal and sit 4 seats away and observe the situation. Perhaps she was leaving family to go back home and was just sad. If that was the case, there’s no need for me to rudely inquire.

Sure enough her elderly husband comes back and checks on her. Apparently she was crying from exhaustion and she was coming back from the Mayo clinic after having open heart surgery. They were going back home to Scotland. Her husband came back from the Northwest Perks lounge area and was rejected entrance because they weren’t perks members. I’d heard enough. I walked over, knelt down and said. “Hi ya’ll, I’m K, and I’m here to help you.” I told them that there was a lounge area above my store and I’d be happy to take them up there. I grabbed their luggage, asked them to follow me and took them up the back stairs. An airport employee asked me what I was doing and I told them that they needed a place to rest so I was taking them upstairs. They just looked at me and I told them quite plainly “Don’t question me on this, it’s the right thing to do.” and continued up the stairs.

We got up to the lounge area and I noticed that there were employees lying on all the sofas. I walked them down to the furthest sofa and pulled a chair up next to it. A young Somali girl was lying there reading a magazine. I politely asked her to give up her place so these elderly passengers could get some rest. She sat up and immediately I got attitude. I listened to her for brief minute I allowed her to speak “Forget it, GET UP NOW! Move it.” I said. The Scottish man says “It’s OK...” I interrupted and said “You’re right, it IS OK,” pointing back at the young girl “Get up and move…now.” She finally gets up and I put down the luggage and sat the woman down. As she lies down I grab her coat and put it over her. Her husband thanks me profusely. I assure him that no one would be bothering them and that they could relax now. I thanked them for coming to the US and told them I hoped they’d come back again under better circumstances. I motioned for the young girl to come with me and she follows.

I take her into the hall and I explain to her (nicely) that she should never argue with anyone when there are elderly people involved. They deserve the utmost respect. She looks at me curious. I explained that when these people were about her age most black people would have been killed for speaking, or eating with a white person. That people their age fought for our rights and all the freedoms we take for granted these days. With that being said she nodded, understanding. I started to walk away and something occurred to me. I walked back to her and said “Wait a minute, your Somali or Ethiopian, yes?” She nodded in agreement. “Isn’t it a part of your culture to respect ALL elderly people?” She nods yes. “Hmmm..” I say nodding and leering at her. I walk away, go back to my store and go back to work wondering what the hell is wrong with younger generations these days? Why are they so self deserving?
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