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Humor, Grace and Airport Security
By Erika Hoffman

(Page 2 of 3)

Anyway, I told the unfriendly ticketer about the ordered wheel chair (which I had already asked the skycap about outside before handing him a five dollar bill) and soon an Indian attendant appeared. She wasted no time in putting Dad in the chair and briskly wheeled him toward the elevator. We zoomed to the security portal. Surprisingly, it was not busy. The lines were short at RDU on this Saturday afternoon. The black guard joked pleasantly with my old father. Most people are very solicitous I’ve found, and I do appreciate “the kindness of strangers” toward my elderly parent. In fact, I often depend on it when Dad is traveling alone.

The Indian lady spoke limited English but was very efficient and quickly removed all Dad’s belongings that might set off alarms. She whisked him through. I had only to care for myself. By the time I slid on my sandals, gathered up my purse, cell phone, and identifying passport, she had Dad back in the wheelchair and was tying his sneakers. In fact, I bent over to make a double knot, and she told me that she had already tied them securely.

Without a hitch, she rolled him to the gate. I had to do double time to keep up. When we arrived at the point of departure, I thanked her. Dad produced a five dollar bill from his pocket and handed it to the woman. Then, I helped Dad out of the wheelchair so she could take it back with her. Only a few paces away were rows of chairs. Dad would be fine sitting in one of them until his flight boarded. He clutched his cane and needed to take a step or two before he could plop down again.

She whisked the chair away as soon as Dad arose. He slowly began the walk. He hobbled. He grimaced, and his one foot twisted onto its side. He seemed to lose his balance, and I feared a fall.

“Are you okay?” I asked him. I thought Dad was woozy from getting up too fast. Then, his leg looked as though he had sudden paralysis. Was Dad having a stroke?

“My foot, Erika.”

“What’s the matter with your foot, Dad?”

“I think there’s something in my shoe.”

“Dad, now how can that be? We took off your sneakers for the scanner and the nice lady, who pushed you, put them back on.”

“There’s a rock in there!”

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