On Thursday, August 1st, 2019, I boarded a flight from Dallas, Texas, to Louisville, Kentucky. When I arrived to my row a young lady seated in the aisle seat stood up to let me get to my assigned window seat. Most children I know would love to have the window seat so I asked this little beauty if she would like to have it. She said, “No. It’s okay.” I proceeded to get comfortable and she watched a movie on her tablet. It wouldn’t be too much longer before we took off and I sensed that perhaps there was a bit of anxiety being experienced by my new row mate. As the plane proceeded from the gate towards the run way for takeoff she was looking around but there was little to see. Window shades were mostly pulled down. I introduced myself to her and asked her name. She told me her name was Lydia. I asked who she was traveling with and she told me she was traveling alone – and that this was her very first airplane ride! WOW! I was impressed. I reflected upon the days I took my first lot of trips and remembered what my mom told me and my sister about all the noises we would hear and how each noise was significant to the plane functioning properly – and I shared that memory with Lydia. She was only 11 years old – cute as a button with a round face and medium brown hair and the cutest little giggle and smile. Notwithstanding my passion for children, Lydia reminded me in so many ways of my niece, Milahn – who I affectionately refer to as “My Retirement Package”. Lydia was personable and kind. What was ironically funny is that she told me that one of the instructions her mom gave her was to not talk to strangers- but I sense she felt comfortable talking to me. After all, with over 30 years of experience working with young people, this did not surprise me. I learned that Lydia was going to visit her grandparents who had always taken the 12 hour drive trip to collect her for the summer – and drive her back to Kentucky. Wow! They must really love their granddaughter. The most astonishing fact that Lydia shared was that her mom gave birth to her when she was 15 years old and that her young parents were still together. I remember thinking how rare this was but what a great job her parents had done raising a young lady so well-mannered and so well behaved. We didn’t talk much more than that but I gave Lydia my card and told her to let her family know about the stranger she met on the plane. I fell asleep.
Children have a great way of soothing our souls and making our hearts full. The innocence of them is so precious. We meet people from all walks of life and in all kinds of places. On that day, for me, the sky was the limit.
I hope that wherever Lydia is that she has had a great summer – and I hope her future will be a bright and happy one. I told her I’d write about her. Just leave a few encouraging words for this little lady. And I hope you will find some inspiration in the story, too.