Angels Come in Many FormsJohn O'Leary
How a ticket agent’s small act of kindness had tremendous impact.
I met Wes Wheeler at the NECA conference in Scottsdale, AZ last month. He was the first person to greet me when I walked into the venue and was kind enough to walk me out at the end of the meetings.
As he ushered me to the lobby and into my car, Wes shared how meaningful the message was and how profoundly impacted he was. I asked him the main message he heard and Wes replied: “The importance we can all play in the life of someone else.”
The tears in his eyes suggested he had more to share.
That’s how I found myself hearing about Charles, Dot, and a day in 2019 Wes will never forget.
On December 5, 2019 Wes received the call he had been dreading. His brother Charles, terminally sick with cancer, had taken a turn for the worse. He didn’t have much time left and if Wes wanted to see him, he had to get to Jacksonville as soon as possible.
Wes raced to the airport and learned the soonest he’d arrive would be just before midnight. While booking that flight he saw that a flight to the same destination was currently boarding which would have him arriving nearly four hours earlier. Although last minute, sold out, and already boarding, Wes explained to the agent his plight.
The gate agent, Dot, clearly moved, began frantically typing and working the phone. She had family, too, and knew how important it was to be present in life and death moments.
Dot secured a seat for Wes on the earlier flight, ushered him to security and wished him the very best in his visit with his brother.
Charles Wheeler passed away in Jacksonville at 10:30 p.m. that evening. It occurred an hour before his brother Wes was originally supposed to be there.
But thanks to his “angel” Wes was there holding Charles’ hand when he died. Because of Dot’s diligence and kindness, Wes arrived by his brother’s side and spent an hour telling stories, sharing family memories and praying with his brother. It was a sacred hour together that happened only because a gate agent named Dot saw the human.
After the funeral and still wrapped up in his own grief, Wes arrived back home. When he landed, he didn’t head to the baggage claim or a parking garage. Instead, he went directly to the main lobby where the ticket agents work. He waited in line, not to buy another ticket, but to thank someone who made all the difference in the world.
He approached Dot, tears in his eyes and thanked her for helping him make the earlier flight. Wes shared he was with his brother when he took his last breath and that only happened because of her kindness and industriousness and wanted to thank her.
When Wes finished thanking Dot, she had tears in her eyes, too.
My friends, our work does matter, the little things we do for others can make mighty differences, and each day we are called to recognize the importance we play in the life of someone else.
Let’s not miss that chance today. In our own ways, let’s choose to make a difference like Dot.
This is your day. Live Inspired.