by Ravi Elangkoh

 

Stranded at airportStranded!

It was a long tense wait for the 150 passengers of Flight 720 from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. The plane was supposed to depart from KLIA2 at 7.15 a.m. but by the time we boarded, it was almost 7.25 a.m. Then there arose some confusion when the passenger list did not tally. This was followed by another delay due to the late entry of cargo in the plane.

At 7.40 p.m., the pilot informed us of a technical glitch, so we had to disembark and stand by for updates from the ground crew. We waited at the departure lounge but received no news for 30 suspenseful minutes until the ground crew finally arrived to move us from Gate 11 to Gate 17.

There was no demonstration of leadership from any representative of the airline company to manage the crowd. The crowd was getting very agitated, with many unable to fulfil their commitments. One passenger had to attend an interview while another was supposed to be on relief duty but instead he himself had to be relieved now and his performance record marred.

When we finally boarded the new plane, there was one more delay. The pilot announced that they were waiting to fuel the plane but the service provider was nowhere to be found.

Each of us had lost 3 hours of our precious productive time. That would translate to hundreds of hours if we multiply 3 by the number of passengers and crew members.

Each of us had lost 3 hours of our precious productive time. That would translate to hundreds of hours if we multiply 3 by the number of passengers and crew members.

I missed my 10 a.m. meeting which I would have to replace the following week. Who is going to compensate for my additional travel and accommodation expenses, not to mention time and opportunity costs? And that was just for me, a single passenger. Imagine the repercussions of broken promises, the inconvenience of rescheduling and the sting of financial losses faced by the rest of the passengers as well as crew members.

Not Shaken…

My adventure did not end on Singapore soil. As the taxi was approaching the hotel I had booked in, I noticed a visually impaired man struggling to cross the road. Although it was clear to the taxi driver and me that the man was asking for help, no one around him seemed to bother. I instructed the taxi driver to pull up by the curb and keep his fare meter running.

When I offered the man my help, he exclaimed, “Grace of God, you’re an angel that God has sent! Please help me across the road as I have difficulty walking and controlling the muscles of my legs and hands.”

We had not even crossed the road halfway when the light for pedestrian walking turned red. That was how slow and difficult it was for the man. Throughout the incident, passers-by gave us incredulous looks, as if my behaviour was most peculiar.

When I returned to the taxi, I found that the driver had decided to switch off his meter and ferried me for another 5 minutes without charge.

…But Stirred!

He said, “In my 30 years of driving taxis, I’ve never come across a person like you. You brought tears to my eyes – what you did was extraordinary!”

While appreciating the taxi driver’s kind gesture, I couldn’t help thinking that such an act was supposed to be instinctive. When one sees a fellow human struggling, helping him or her should be the norm.

What is happening to our society today?

Being stranded at the airport made me realize how so many of us live stranded lives. We are passengers in the journey of life, rushing here and there trying to make it big, but getting stranded by problems because of the little details we’ve overlooked.

Being stranded at the airport made me realize how so many of us live stranded lives. We are passengers in the journey of life, rushing here and there trying to make it big, but getting stranded by problems due to the little details we’ve overlooked. I also saw how a visually impaired man could have the vision to recognize what really mattered more in life.

I also saw how a visually impaired man could have the vision to recognize what really mattered more in life.

Perhaps we have become so caught up by the cares of this world that we have missed the true meaning of living. There is more to life than the pursuit of wealth. As we approach Christmas and with the New Year just around the corner, let’s take time to reflect on our lives and make a meaningful change.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year text