Read part 1 here.
(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.
read part 3 here.