Adventures at the Airport

lil JesseMy father worked for Northwest Orient Airlines when I was growing up. I remember he would come home in the morning after working the night shift, dressed in all that clothing with the airline company emblem. I would be eating cereal and he would always put his cold hands on my neck. B-rrrrrrr! Then we would watch the news, it was all about the Vietnam war. Interestingly, many of the people whom I have helped are Vietnamese and have been through those times, carrying wounded memories of their changed lives. I began my healing then as my dad always had a headache and he commanded me to sit on the armrest and put my forehead on his to take away the pain. “Sit still!” he would say.

Actually, my helping might have started earlier when he was at the hospital, some of my first memories, with a broken leg. He was lucky to be alive because he was blown up in a welding accident. He was welding a gasoline truck in an airplane hangar. The explosion sent him up to the rafters of the hangar and he bounced down to the cement floor below. I heard he was in the hospital for 6 months. During our visits to see him, my dad commanded me to get him the hassock, the first big word for me, and put his leg in the cast on top of it.

Since he worked for Northwest, there were flying privileges.  We were at the Reno Airport and my dad spots an old man coming down the escalator. He says to me that we should help him get off. The man, who I thought was homeless, saw what we were up to. He let go of the moving railing and clutched ahold of this paper bag he had. I thought that he thought we were going to accost him. Holding onto the bag caused him to start rocking back and forth. He fell at the bottom. Man he was heavy as it took all my and dad’s strength to lift him back up. I wasnt sure if he was grateful or not. Dad was psychic and helpful I learned. Yes the man fell and we helped him.

Back in the day before security was an issue at the airport, there were people, especially people of various religious ‘cults’, who would sell, ungraciously, items and hand out pamphlets to unobliging fliers. Dad, however, didnt get mad at these people. One time in Las Vegas, a young woman approaches my dad from out of nowhere and begins to pin a small flower on his chest. She asks if he wants a flower. Yes, he said, all of them! She froze in a stare as she didnt know what to do. My dad maneuvered and walked away. I looked back and she was still frozen, holding that flower pin up in the air to someone who wasnt there.

This knowledge would come in handy for me later in life. I held a job as a postman. Read Charles Bukowski for more clues on that life. I used to get defensive as many people would come out and complain that I was late or something. I thought how could I be late. Is there a set time for your mail to be delivered? I then remembered my dad’s story about the flower lady. The next time it happened this lady came out to me and told me very sternly that I was late. Instead of getting upset, I said, ‘yes I am!’ in an agreeing manner. She too froze, as I kept walking to the next house. Two houses down I looked back, she was still there, holding the mail I had given her, with a blank look on her face. Its amazing when you agree with people who are mad at you.

Chapter 2

(After writing this today, coincidentally, I read that a disabled man had to crawl off an airplane. This happened 18 years ago. It was a serious situation, not editing what I wrote now, trying to make light of how tense it was)

I became a helper at the airport. Quite often there are people who fly who need help getting in and out of the airplane. I always offered to help. It gave me a sense of being good to help those less fortunate than myself. They tested me one time for sure. They being those spirits who have guided me in my crazy life. Perhaps the spirit was my dad because he died when I was 20 of cancer. His last words were not to follow in his footsteps and work for the man and die of cancer. Well there I was at the airport where he worked. So anyways, there was this man with a condition that left him unable to talk well and walk. Actually he could stand with someone to hold onto for balance. The planes I worked with had steps to walk up and down to the cement ground or what we called the ramp. Big propellers right there. This man, I held onto as he walked up the stairs. It wasnt funny but it turned out to be when his legs walked up without his body under him. Off he flew. I thought why didnt he have someone, a caretaker with him.

Some time later, Im there on the ramp, directing planes and throwing bags, and I hear that there is a problem with a passenger. Its that guy. He has to go to the bathroom really bad and is screaming. I felt sorry for him in his state because he had a hard time talking and no one to help him. The flight attendant lady just wanted him off the plane. However he kept pointing to the restroom right there in front of him. He couldnt get there on his own. I did as I was told and helped him off the plane. Boy he was mad. On the ground, he was yelling as best he could and pointing at the bathroom up on the plane. I noticed that I was alone, that everyone took off. I had to yell at him to quiet him down. I just told him that I was going to help. I waited for the the small shuttle to arrive and got him aboard. Im sure he really had to go! The shuttle driver needed help starting the vehicle as I was starting to get upset myself. It took forever to get to the gate as I guess the driver didnt understand the situation. To make things worse, the passenger assist people flew the coop as well when they saw me wheeling him in. Then the security, had to make sure he wasnt a terrorist undercover as physically disabled man when they double checked everything for metal. My God! So I get him to the bathroom and I thought it was over. Well God had locked the door so no one had to see me hold the guy up to the urinal and pee. Thank goodness for velcro pants! Later outside because there was no one there to pick him up, I felt terrible and humbled as he apoligized to me as I helped him have a cigarette. I never knew how difficult it was to be handicapped. Looking back at it now, I should have said to hell with everyone and helped him use the bathroom on the plane.

Other times were more glamourous at the airport. One time, the band, Loverboy, was boarding the plane. There were no ramps or jetways there, everything was outside. So I saw them and I said to a younger co-worker, I was 30, “I used to rock to those guys when I was a kid”. One of the bandmembers overheard me and shouted back, “hey we are STILL kids!” I told them I took nice care of their equipment and the lead singer, Mike, turned around as he was walking up the steps and said thankyou, very nicely. That was cool! The luggage compartment was in the rear of the plane, right behind where they were sitting, so we gave them an encore performance, singing their big song, “everybody’s working for the weekend!”. I heard them laughing.

My experiences seemed to deepen. This is while I was still employed at the airport. After going to a concert at this local venue in Minneapolis called First Avenue (where Prince performed his movie Purple Rain), I was walking down the street sidewalk, still downtown, and out of nowhere, this young street girl comes up and holds onto me. She wanted to trade sexual favors for money. I looked at her barefeet and told her no, however, I would give her some money anyways. She started to tell me her terrible plight and broke down crying, as she sat down on the sidewalk to pee. I helped her up, dug in my pocket for some money and handed it to her. Well, other street people had seen me dole out the cash, because within seconds, I was being surrounded from every direction, being yelled at for money. I ended up running all the way out of downtown.

The next day after leaving work, I saw this guy pushing a motorcycle in the center ditch on the highway. I drove around on the next exits and returned – I had a pickup truck. I pulled up and asked this guy whose face was beat red, pushing this motorbike uphill, if he needed a lift. Like I needed to ask. We threw his bike in the back and he told me to go to his work, which happened to be a gas station. He insisted and I said ok to his filling my tank up. The lesson, you should give to receive.

Chapter 3

When you are flying ‘standby’, sometimes you have to wait the whole day to fly because there is no guarantee that there is a seat with your name on it. Its pretty boring to have to wait all day so you try to find something to kill time. I would ride the moving walkway up and down many times, even walking backwards to help that clock speed along. So there I am, last flight of the day and they gave me a spot on that plane. I think I was 18 at the time. Around the corner appeared this two elderly people. He was tall and overweight and she was much shorter and not too slim either. It looked they had walked the whole way instead of taking the easy moving walkway because his face was beat red. She makes a right turn into the lady’s room and he started to walk right towards me. But then it turned for the absolute worst. He grabs for his heart and collapses face first into the floor. Im cringing right now thinking of the sound it made. I mean he was tall and he really just fell over like a fallen tree. Poor guy! Just then, these two people sitting adjacent to me right in the middle, jumped up and started performing CPR on this guy. Just happen that one was a doctor and the other a paramedic. Although what happened in the next 30 minutes Im not sure whether that guy was lucky or not. He had died. His jaw had been broken and they had to give him a karate chop to get it open again. I really don’t have a strong stomach for that. After beating on his chest a few times, he became conscious and let out this horrendous scream. They tried yelling at him to tell him what happen to get him to calm down or something. It didn’t matter because he died again. More beating and breathing and he wakes again screaming. This went on a few more times. I couldn’t take it. This was not like the movies. How many times have you seen a movie where they are trying to resuscitate someone and when they can’t bring them back to life, they give up after maybe a minute? Thats not real at all. These people working on him were so dedicated and motivated to bring him back to life, even with all the gut-wrenching screams. Ok 5 minutes later, and this lady, who was with him, comes out of the bathroom. She was oblivious to what was going down. There is a crowd around the man on the floor and she starts yelling and calling-I won’t say his name for his sake- over and over again. She notices him on the ground and screams at him, “What are doing on the floor ….? Actually I had to laugh. I exited into the guys bathroom to get some air and water. 10 minutes had passed and they still couldn’t keep that guy alive. I was like, because he was in so much pain like I had never seen, to just let him go, but obviously I don’t work in the ER. By 15 minutes, the paramedics arrived. These guys had some real machinery-the electric stun gun paddles. Real crazy stuff! His mouth was rigged open and they yelled ‘clear!’ as they gave him a jolt. His body jumped and down and again some more screams and they kept at it. I think they were able to give some painkiller because he wasn’t yelling so loud anymore. Wow after 25 minutes, he was finally stabilized. We got the call to board and that was the last I saw of him. Obviously he missed his flight but had lived. I thought how amazing it was that it didn’t happen on the airplane.

Last thought, don’t die at the airport because they might not handle your remains with any dignity. One time when I was working at the airport, a guy died enroute just before landing and they left his body in a baggage cart most of the night. It was kind of creepy just knowing that there was a man dead in the cart where you were working. When I clocked out at 11pm, he was still out there. I couldn’t believe that no one had picked his body up!

check out this video of an airport adventure by Tame Impala

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Jesus and Mary healing oil final

2 thoughts on “Adventures at the Airport

  1. Yes — agreeing with people who are mad at you is quite a strategy! When I was in 6th grade (we had moved from the beach in Malibu to “town”, West Los Angeles) there was a girl named Elaine Payne who was mean and socially awkward. I remember her coming after me at recess one day, and calling me a clown one day — and I remember she wouldn’t let up. Finally I said: “Yes, I’m a CLOWN!!!” and I began jumping around all crazy. And it worked. No more trouble from Elaine Payne after that!

    https://soulhorseride.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/my-horse-my-airplane/
    https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/deep-philosophical-three-minute-conversations/

    Like

  2. Pingback: Adventures at the Airport-part 3 Death! | Spiral Dragons

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