Good morning from Paris, people. It was not easy to get here. Well, scratch that: it was easy for me, but my wife Julie came down with an apparent case of food poisoning from a meal she ate in the New Orleans airport before we boarded our British Airways flight. About an hour outside of London Heathrow, she started to vomit.
It was epic, and continued to be epic as we made our way through Heathrow to catch our connecting flight to Paris. I’ll spare you the gory details. I haven’t seen her so sick in years. She was so pale (green, actually) and weak that it appeared we weren’t going to be able to get on the plane for the short hop to Paris.
A British Airways employee manning that particular gate was incredibly kind in that moment of distress. Without complaining, but instead showing gentleness and understanding, he ordered our bags taken off that flight — holding the flight at the gate — so we could catch a later flight. But when he checked the computer and found that the next flight wouldn’t be for six hours, Julie said it would be better to go ahead and take it, so she could get to the hotel and rest.
Again without complaining, and showing nothing but tenderness and compassion, he ordered the bags re-loaded, and escorted us down to the plane. Julie was sick on the plane, and in the taxi all the way to the hotel, but as we live in the best of all possible worlds, airsick bags were well deployed.
She’s resting now, and doing better, but will probably have to spend the first full day in Paris in bed rehydrating. Awful! But the one good thing that came out of that experience was witnessing the compassion of this stranger to a couple of distressed travelers. Had he been merely professional, that would have sufficed. But he went above and beyond that call.
Last night I tweeted this:
You know who is one of the kindest and most decent men in the world? A man named Gavin who works at Heathrow, and who helped my wife when she fell spectacularly ill with food poisoning as we were connecting to Paris. I wish I knew his last name. I’d tell the Queen!
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) February 11, 2018
The manager of the airport’s Twitter account wrote to ask for more information. I gave them the flight and gate information (I wasn’t sure that his name was Gavin, but Julie said she thought it was.) Anyway, this came this morning
Hi Rob, we have identified the staff member. He works for @British_Airways and he will be rewarded for his kindness. Thank you for tweeting us, stories like this make us happy. ❤
— Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) February 12, 2018
How satisfying! Everybody tweets when something goes wrong while engaged in air travel. It’s important also to tweet when, despite things going very, very wrong, things also go very, very wright. Whatever that gentleman’s name, Julie and I are grateful for his kindness, his traveling mercy. His good deed made me resolve to be kinder to people I meet in everyday life. Me being me, who knows how long that will last, but I appreciate the inspiration.