Welcome Home, Reese

by on August 24, 2016

Flying realistic balloonsI was at the airport the other day, picking up the son of a friend of one of my family members, when I witnessed something that immediately had an impact on me. It was a great lesson in how people can inadvertently brighten the day of others, without it being their direct intent. It all falls back to the face you put forward to the world around you.

As I was waiting at the security checkpoint through which returning passengers from a flight emerge from the gate area to proceed onto the luggage area, a mother and her two small children approached the area where I was waiting. Each child had a sign that they had made on white paper and with color markers. The mother had in her hands two bunches of balloons, with likely 6 to 8 balloons in each bunch. The message on the signs the children had read “Welcome Home, Reese”. The balloons also said “Welcome Home” and “We Missed You” and other kind words that would indicate to a person who had been away, their absence was felt by those they had left behind.

It takes a while for passengers to get from the gate area to baggage, even if the television monitors indicate their plane has landed. Between taxiing to the gate, getting off the plane, walking the distance from the gate to the baggage area, one gets to observe a large number of people arriving from their flights. When people land after a flight many are tired, others are in a hurry to get their luggage and move on to their next destination, some are confused, (especially if they have not been at their destination before), and still others have a look on their face that seems to say “just don’t bother me.”

However, I noticed something that started to change in the demeanor of the passengers coming to the baggage area from their flights as they spotted the two children with the signs and the mother with the balloons. Many slowed down to read the message on the signs and the balloons. A number smiled. Others exhaled, and actually felt “welcomed” to their new surroundings. It did not matter who the people were. Whether they were business travelers dressed in suits or dresses, or leisure travelers in sweat suits, the children and mother were having an impact on that immediately area with their desire to greet “Reese” and make her feel welcomed as she came back to them.

As I continued to wait for my passenger, I became curious. Who was Reese? What did she look like? How long had she been gone? What was her connection to the family waiting for her? I continued waiting hoping that Reese would actually arrive before the passenger that I was picking up, because I wanted to see her reaction and the family’s reaction when they would all reconnect.

Finally, the mother and children spotted Reese. She was traveling with a gentleman that appeared to be her father. She was a young girl herself, a few years older than the children with the signs. Immediately she put her arms around both of the younger children. She smiled at the balloon reception. It was obvious she was happy again to be back “home” with these “family members.” Reese and those waiting for her then proceeded onto the baggage area as I continued to wait for my party, who came a few minutes later.

However, the impression of that moment stayed with me. The simple actions of a mother and her children, had brightened the day, (even if it was for a few brief moments), for so many when they least expected it. While the kindness that the mother and her children delivered was for one individual, it touched so many other people. Perhaps it brought back a memory of a trip where they had arrived and been welcomed in similar style. For others, it could help them recall when their children were young. Others may have been like me and wondered who Reese was, and why she was so special to get such a welcome.

Our actions whether positive or negative not only impact ourselves, but those around us, perhaps to degrees we don’t always realize. Remember we have a choice on how we want to both put ourselves out and receive the world. And, if you don’t think it makes a difference, just think of “Reese” when you do.


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