21 September 2011


I witnessed a great example of just how cooperative people can be with one another today.  We arrived at Charles DeGaulle Airport with about an hour to catch another flight, only to find the airport almost at a standstill due to a security concern.  We had to take a bus to the terminal, another bus to another terminal, and then a train to our final terminal, while passing through two extra security checks.  The lines were extremely long, and people who had flights to catch knew that they weren't going to be getting to them in time.  All the while there were no announcements about what was going on, and no indication that the planes were going to be held for the people who needed to catch them.

While I saw a lot of concern on people's faces, neither my wife nor I heard a single word of complaint.  From anyone.  People went where they needed to go only to find lines that were going to keep them from getting to their destination, but nobody was freaking out, nobody was yelling, nobody was making other people miserable with their own inability to deal with the situation.  In fact, people were extremely courteous, and there were probably more smiles shared with other people--nervous as the smiles might have been--than there would have been on a typical day.

It really was a beautiful sight.  It was a beautiful feeling, too, and it was nice to be a part of it.  All these people were cooperating with each other, helping each other out, showing patience and caring, in a situation that was charged with the potential for conflict, for stress, for cutting in line and for yelling at each other.  But that just wasn't happening.  People of all ages and nationalities and races and genders (okay, only two of those. . .) were making the best of a bad situation without making a scene, without trying to impose their own will upon other people.

It's nice to see things like this happen.  It's nice to be reminded that people can get along together, even in difficult times, and that we don't need to try to resolve all problems through conflict.  It's nice to see the potential that people have to live and work together.  Things flowed as smoothly as possible today because people cooperated with each other and didn't try to put their own needs ahead of the needs of others--after all, we were all in the same boat, weren't we, even if we weren't heading for the same plane!

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