short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Stand up! Speak up!

When help is needed, many people will often look the other way, hoping that someone else will step up. That was clear on one flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt that went only as far as the beginning of the runway, then turned around, and came back. The pilot announced that the instruments showed nothing wrong with the plane but that he flew it regularly, did not like the way it felt, and was unwilling to pilot it. As we waited to disembark and be rescheduled on other flights, a nun stood up and asked in Italian if anyone spoke Italian. On that large plane headed to Europe, there must have been a number of speakers of Italian, but no one admitted to knowing the language. I stepped up and told her in broken Italian that I did not speak Italian but understood it to some extent and could speak some Spanish. She could understand (but not speak) Spanish, so we could communicate in an Italian-Spanish lingo.

She had a complicated route, with a final destination of Budapest, and it took nearly 30 minutes to reschedule her. By that time, the line for rescheduling was nearly gone. One group of about 15 people stood to the side, watching me interpret for the nun. As she walked away, new ticket in hand, one of the people in the group approached me and asked in Polish, "Do you happen to speak Polish or Russian?" I told him in Russian that I could understand a little Polish but that if he spoke Russian, we could easily communicate. Thus, I ended up interpreting for 15 more people.

As the ticket agents started to shut down the customer service counter, I objected, "What about my ticket?" I had the most complicated route of all the people on the plane: Los Angeles - Frankfurt - Moscow - Samara (on the Volga River).

"Oh," the senior agent replied. "We thought you worked for us."

My complicated ticket required nearly a half-hour conversation between the senior ticket agent and the international desk. When done, the ticket agent gave me my ticket, noting that it was for first class, courtesy of Delta Airlines, as a thank you for all the interpretation I had done.


Excerpted and adapted from a story I published in a collection of vignettes, copyright 2003.

1 comment:

  1. What a blessing. GOD takes care of those who give of themselves to help others. I know you did it b/c it was the right thing to was what our LORD would have done, but HE honored your obedience. GOD BLESS YOU for doing the right thing.


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.