Sidewalk Ghosts / Reid, knock’em dead in LV!

Wisdom, that after racing behind him for a quarter of an hour, through our small talk and witnessed in the courage he seemed to have in pursuing his dreams, I saw a story much deeper than any we could have shared in words.

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My heart was broken. A post interview experience I will soon publish in an upcoming book that addresses a set of perspectives for bettering the way we view and treat one another. So stay tuned, I’ll update you as soon as it is released. But for the purpose of this story, it’s better to set the stage in sharing on board travel experience I had sitting next to a most charming Italian couple; beautiful dancer Giorgia and her very gracious husband, musician Giorgio. I could not have asked for better travel mates for a five-hour flight.

We talked about stories of the strangers I had met and of the lessons taught over the previous fifty-three. But as tired as we were, and in compassion to them, we passed on making any pictures. Plus, I needed to allow them their in-flight sleep time. The right thing to do in allowing them their privacy and a respect to the eight hours of flight time from their homeland; and to top that off, I had already photographed a friend of the day, Reid.

_L2R3701Reid and I ran into each other as we were scurrying to a reassigned airport gate. Sounded simple enough at first as the gate agent instructed, “It’s just around the corner, Gate C-29.” For geographical point-of-reference, Reid and I were standing at B-11.

Off we went as instructed, Just around to corner.Boy, I love airports! Around the corner? Seriously?

Well, just around the cornerended up being a distance I could only explain in terms of landing strip geometry. Specifically, holly hanna! It zigzagged hallways longer than the length of runway required to land a Boing 747.

Travel experience and fatigue seemed to be a perfect linking point as Reid and I matched speed in attacking a mother of all airport hikes. Myself with forty-five pounds of shoulder strapped camera backpack and Reid bearing a bag the size of himself. The guy was a rock. I thought I was a fast walker, but Reid was almost uncatchable as he began to break away from me. Fast and relentless he was and all I could do was bear down in increasing my stride to stay up. With one arm on the steering controls of an airport chair and the other holding heavy luggage in his lap, he was my saving grace as I submitted to his speed. Like a trailblazer he was quick and agile as he navigated a path through passenger-loaded thoroughfares. Reid, I will always be grateful for the tow. You got us there on time. I owe you one!

As we raced to our reassigned departure, I invited him to be interviewed. He was willing, but due to the gate change, we were both uncertain as to if we could make it happen. And above that, we needed to settle a little business prior to boarding. Myself an anticipated phone call and Reid crunched to get stand-by arrangements worked out. But we gave it a hero’s push. Shifted our speed into overdrive, and after fifteen minutes of walk and talk, sweat dripping off my brow, we slowed at C-29.

A welcoming sight it was, and even though the sitting area was packed, the line at the counter was minimal. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Reid was highly intelligent, extroverted and witty, so it took him about a second to scoot right up to the agent and in no time he had his ticket in hand.

No waiting room seating was to be had. I snuggled up against an architectural column and arranged my stuff in anticipation of getting a brief moment with Reid.

The pre-boarding call rang out, yet still, we managed to find time for an extremely rushed interview and a few photos.

Here are a few details.

  • Reid had a Bachelors of Science Degree in Paleontology and was working on his Masters.
  • He was traveling to Las Vegas as an invited presenter at a leading Paleontology Convention.
  • One day he would be working as the curator of fossil exhibits at a leading museum (he expressed this to me as a goal, but somehow I already saw him in the role).

We literally grabbed five minutes to shoot a couple photos as he shared words we’ve come to know well, “Never give up!”

Wisdom, that after racing behind him for a quarter of an hour, through our small talk and witnessed in the courage he seemed to have in pursuing his dreams, I saw a story much deeper than any we could have shared in words.

Nothing could stall Reid, and I was all the better of a person for having time with him.

We stood side-by-side as we entered the aircraft, and as we separated to our seats, I smiled that have a great flight nod, all the while going through my mind, “Reid, knock’em dead in LV!”

He smiled back and disappeared into his seat.

Readers, if you are returning, so nice to be with you again. If you are new, looking forward to getting to know you.

To all: please commentlike, and forward. Every engagement goes a long way toward connecting us; as together, we grow a movement that betters the way we view and treat one another.

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