A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to backpack in the Grand Canyon. I had been looking forward to the trip before it was even planned, especially after watching Ken Burns excellent documentary on the national parks. Words and pictures cannot really capture just how awe-inspiring the canyon is. I felt like Nemo when he was asked to describe “the big blue” ocean, and he responded “uh…big… and blue?” (ps. Finding Nemo is so my favorite movie).
As one can imagine, it was an excellent trip. It was a particularly nice way to end a 10 day tour of Arizona. After hiking out of the canyon I had to make the 3 hr drive to Phoenix that night, to catch my plane the next morning. I may have been a bit frazzled at the airport that next morning, but I made it to my gate with just enough time to grab a cup of coffee for the flight. Standing in line at Starbucks I saw a fresh fruit cup, and asked the cashier how much it was, “$4.99” she responded. While I totally could have shelled out that amount for the fruit cup, I said that was okay (honestly, $4.99 for a fruit cup though! Can’t you get a footlong sub for that much?!?!). The lady in line next to me picked it up and said, “You want this fruit cup? I’ll get it for you, add it to my bill.” I told her that wasn’t necessary, but she insisted. It was such a nice gesture, I told her I’d pay it forward.
I haven’t found the right opportunity yet; however, I thought a good place to start would be to share this story, to hopefully inspire others to treat a stranger. When I get back from a hiking trip, I find myself yearning for the little communities and connections that form in the backcountry. Her gesture reminded me that you can find connections with people anywhere, even in an airport.