I made my way to row six at the JFK departure area to check-in for my flight.
“What do you mean it’s delayed?” a woman was screaming at the ticket agent behind the counter.
I walked up to the next agent and handed him my I.D.
“We have a delay this morning,” he told me.
“I heard,” I replied with a smile, cocking my head to the right at the other woman. He laughed and handed me my boarding pass.
I’m never one to get angry in those situations. Frustrated, maybe, but I never take it out on anyone at the airport. It’s not their fault that a passenger a thousand miles away caused an evacuation, delaying flights.
I made my way through the very familiar process of going through security, where I’ve perfected the art of taking off shoes, removing laptops and liquids from bags and taking off jackets at 900 mph. Don’t worry hurried businessman behind me, I got this.
I strolled down to my gate and it was packed. There was an international flight getting ready to board with hundreds of people crammed into the small waiting area. I glanced at the monitor and noticed my flight was still two hours out, so I took a stroll to the end of the end of gate A and dropped my bags on the floor in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows that gave a breathtaking view of the runways. This was my favorite part of the airport.
I thought to myself how cool it would be if the space shuttle Enterprise landed on one of the runways in front of me, as I knew it was doing a flyover of the city today on it’s way to a military hanger at JFK. But I reassured myself the chances were small, this was a big airport with a lot of windows. Over the next hour, though, more and more people joined me at the windows, including about a dozen TSA agents. I was happy I stayed put, feet planted firmly on the floor and arms resting against the railing along the window bank. I had my chin on my arms and must have looked like an overgrown kid with wide eyes.
“There it is!” shouted one of the agents in a thick east coast accent. Everyone packed in closer to the glass.
I could see the large plane flying low far out in the distance. Two NYPD helicopters hovered right over where we were standing. The plane got closer and closer. We all had cell phones out, waiting to snap a photo of history. As it approached the runway to our right, you could see the Space Shuttle Enterprise riding triumphantly on the plane’s back, getting larger and larger as it zoomed in for it’s final landing.
With a rumble it whizzed by us, escorted by a smaller jet. The crowd of people ran down the gate to catch another glimpse. I saw one woman jump a row of chairs like it was a hurdle on a track. I laughed to myself, thoroughly enjoying the moment and pulling up the photos I had snapped on my phone to see if they had turned out.
If the incident in Minneapolis hadn’t delayed my flight out of NYC, I never would have experienced that. And that’s why I don’t get mad at situations I have no control over. You never know where that change in events may lead you…