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How have you helped a traveler you did not previously know?
That question for entry in the Win A Seat With Randy Peterson giveaway brought many touching responses.
First the giveaway finalist, Moshe P, selected his charity of choice for the Rapid Travel Chai $400 donation and kindly agreed to share:
I’d very much like to thank Stefan of Rapid Travel Chai for his generous offer of a $400 donation to the charity of my choice, a charity that is very near and dear to my heart! The charity that I chose is Aish Hatorah of Huntington Woods, Michigan (www.AishInTheWoods.com), my personal synagogue and Jewish community center. It means a lot to me and my family, as they run many Jewish identity programs, missions to Israel, teen programs, and of course Jewish prayer services. The center is very unique in its focus of promoting Jewish identity in an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect, and is much more than just a synagogue, as it is truly a very warm and close knit community.I truly hope that I win the Grand Prize in this contest, as I would LOVE to go on the Mega Do, networking with other frequent travelers, and a seat next to Randy Petersen would be just all the more AMAZING!!!!
There were so many touching entries from readers that I hesitated to share a sample, yet these hopefully will encourage you to consult all the entries:
I was at the passport office getting my daughters passport. The lady in front of me was getting her daughters and getting an expedite for quick travel overseas, and the passport agent was being the typical unhelpful govt employee. The lady only had cash and they would only accept check or money order. It was close to closing on friday so she had to make it work. She told her to go buy a money order and they would shut the door promptly at 4 and shred her docs if she was not back by then. I stepped in and paid for hers with my check and let her pay me the cash. I followed up with her later and everything worked out just in time.
I was on a flt recently where the dude left his wallet at the counter on checkin and had no money so I gave him $150 bucks and told him to send me back whatever and gave him my business card. Ended up being an Academy Award winning composer and not only did I get the money back, I also got a signed copy of the DVD (Forest Gump)from him! was awesome.
Recently I was returning to the US after taking an intensive Russian language course in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I had a long layover in Frankfurt and at the gate for my flight there were almost no people. A very old lady approached and almost in tears started speaking Russian to me. What a shock! She obviously was in distress, and she told me she couldn’t speak German or English. So…….I simply talked with her in Russian and tried to comfort her loneliness. After 15 minutes, some Lufthansa agents came and one spoke really good Russian….. much better than my Russian. The “babushka’ was, however, very relaxed when I left her. The language course came in handy! Great feeling!
I escorted a very lost South Korean student through Dubai International Airport at 2am, using the bare handful of Korean words I know, and she burst into tears with happiness when she finally got to her gate and that the airline was holding the plane just for her.
I’ll give you two instances of helping fellow travelers, one light and the other a little on the heavy side.
In Mandalay this summer we purchased the fairly expensive tickets that grant admission to a variety of sites near the city. This tickets are generally reckoned to benefit the ruling junta rather than contributing directly (or entirely) to the upkeep of the sites. When we left we passed the tickets, which had several days of validity left, along to several backpackers in our guesthouse.
Years ago, in a youth hostel in the south of France, I was called on to translate between the police and a young woman who was raped while hitchhiking.
Nothing heroic, but just everyday things: helping people who need directions, help using a kiosk, getting their overhead bags for them, giving away drink tickets, switching seats if needed, and sometimes taking a later flight. Karma is a good thing for all!
Several years ago I developed a pulmonary problem and had to fly with oxygen for a while. During that time I learned quite a bit about flying while on oxygen, including where you can sit on each aircraft in UA’s fleet, in each class of service and other minutiae needed to negotiate the world of flying with this particular requirement. I created a reference chart for people on the UA forum on FT to use.
After I recovered, whenever I saw a passenger on a flight who required oxygen I would stop to talk to them about my experiences and offer helpful hints I learned while I was doing it. UA no longer provides O2 for passengers so I can’t do that any longer.
On a recent flight from HNL-LAX the passenger sitting next to me was experiencing difficulties breathing at altitude and they paged for a doctor. She treated the passenger in her seat and put her on oxygen. The doctor was frustrated by the lack of equipment in the on-board kit because she couldn’t determine whether any oxygen was getting into the patient. When the doctor had a moment I offered her the use of my pulse oxymeter which also has a heart monitor built in. I always carry it with me. Her eyes lit up and she thanked me profusely adding that she didn’t want to know why I carried one. The doctor spent 3 hours by the passengers side and eventually went back to her seat, charging the FAs and me to keep an eye on the passenger and to alert her to any changes. The 767 only has 4 M-tanks on the plane which lasted for little more than an hour each. We still had a bit more of an hour flying when the O2 ran out. In order to help the passenger remain calm (you can easily panic when you’re not getting enough O2) I told her I was going to talk to her, but she didn’t need to respond. Calm and concentrated breathing can help you get through rough patches. I talked to her from that point until we landed, telling her what I learned about flying with O2 and reassuring her that as we started to descend she would breathe much more easily. I suggested that it would help her for the return flight to change her flight over to a 777 and that she will find it easier to breathe on it than a 767 or narrowbody. When we landed she reached over and touched my arm and thanked me. She said that I was right, as we started to descend it was much easier for her to breathe.
I donate miles to organizations to use as giveaways in their fundraisers a few times a year, enabling people that would not normally travel to do so. I also once upgraded and elderly frail-looking gentleman as my companion. He was extremely grateful.
I rendered emergency medical care to a 17 year old, with no pulse or respirations, on an American Airlines flight last year. There was no one else on the plane that could assist. NEVER want to be in this situation again!! Happy ending, he is fine:-)
All are worthy of reading, see the original post. Thank you again to all for helping travelers in need.