On July 19 we arrived at the Helena Regional Airport at 5:45 am. I’ve flown many times, but I’m always nervous about the whole airport shuffle and getting on with the trip. We were on our way to Charleston, SC for a get together of Tami’s family at a large home on Folly Beach. The airport Kiosk indicated that the flight schedule had changed and advised “See an Agent”. I quickly got nervous and looked above me at the departure board and thought I saw a 5:54 am departure. With emphasis I said, “Oh no, we’ve missed our flight. Tami and Aaron, my grandson, looked perplexed, and I had succeeded in getting their attention like missing a flight will.
The girl next to us looked at us and said, are you on the flight to Salt Lake, yes, “well, don’t worry, I’m on that flight also and we have plenty of time. It doesn’t leave until 6:30. I’ve always been fascinated with losing something, finding it, and being real happy, but realizing that you are just back to where you were. This was the same feeling. Her assurance changed panic into joy.
She could have just stood there and watched the little show unfold.
Through the TSA gauntlet, we sat, taking a deep breath. I knew she should be the first recipient of the book. I searched and found her nestled in an obscure bench seat. I got on my knees and said, I want to give you something. She just smiled. Thanks for getting me through my panic attack, I started, and then I handed her the book and explained the fame that you and Tim represent to me. Her name was Melissa Jelinek, from San Francisco, and she was visiting Helena for her Grandmothers 80th Birthday. She had a wonderful presence and a genuine smile. I clearly could tell that she appreciated the random nuance. When we boarded, she was still seated and reading the book. On the plane, I passed her seat while in flight as an headed for a bathroom break, and she was still reading the book. Cool, I thought. I wondered, would she have a story to tell.