I’m sorry. That’s what I’d tell the elderly woman who glanced at her boarding pass, then grimaced at the shuttle – which I was on. She moved hesitantly toward the door. She wasn’t going to make it. The door began to close. It nearly shut on her. With what looked like tears, she backed up.
If I had put my arm out, the door would have re-opened for her. But I hadn’t. Instead, I stood there. And did nothing.
I put my head down; I was in a hurry to deliver a training on how to make a difference in the workplace.
Here’s the elephant in the office: There are people who think a stage is necessary to make a difference. Yet, the idea that making a difference requires an event, such as church or a day of volunteering, robs humanity – us – of revealing our greatest heritage.
STOMP THE ELEPHANT
I can assure you your disappointment in me does not eclipse my own. Four years later I remember that woman’s face – and the promise I made when those doors shut: forever more the airport would be my personal “make a difference” arena.
Airports used to be my “get-through-it-as-painlessly-as-you-can” place. But it’s different now. I relax (yet I’m never late). And I seek opportunities to serve – which are never in short supply. Women carrying their infant children, a car seat and two bags; angry customers who are transformed by a “is there anything I can do?” Opportunities are everywhere.
Ironically, I remain selfish: In the end, the greatest gift is mine. By seeking to make a difference my travel experience is dramatically enhanced. And so is my work.
And I wonder: does it take an airport?
Where will you fly today?
Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?