We’ve entered the semi-empty hall of McCarran airport in the wee hours of the day. Not a lot of visitors leave Las Vegas so early; mostly it is people like us, who came here on business.  Just a little over an hour was left until departure. We pushed our three suitcases through the sliding doors and my husband said with a murderous tranquility, “We forgot our passports in the safe”.  I lowered myself on the floor with no any respect to the beautiful wool trousers while he rushed outside to grab a taxi. The long line to registration for our carrier stretched in front of me, people were sleepy and pallid looking, moving like somnambulant.  All thoughts abandoned me, the missing flight was a clear perspective, and for some reason that seemed fatal.

A guy in an airport uniform passed by greeting me cheerfully with a standard “how are you”. And out of the numbness of my brain I’ve answered “Terrible”.  Honestly, I didn’t mean to complain, or to load this early bird with our problems, and I immediately felt guilty. “Never mind, please, I am sorry, just a bad start, I am Ok, really”, I said, but he was not going anywhere. He made me tell him our story and put so much enthusiasm in explaining the times and distances between airport and Caesar’s Palace, that the hope was born.  The guy grabbed my suitcases and told me to follow him to the line. Why didn’t it occur to me before that getting in the queue would save at least 20 minutes!

Walking behind I started to reach for my wallet in the purse.  He stopped dead on tracks, turned around and said, “No, Ma’am. Just no!” You know what money means in Vegas, right?  You can’t take a breather here without tipping off the air.  Well, Tony refused a well-deserved tip.  He told my situation to everyone around and I got a lot of sympathetic ears and some good laughs in support. So when the turn came I only had to let ahead three persons before the husband appeared out of thin air, disheveled but victorious. My angel Tony the airport guy made sure that we were registered, the luggage was dropped off and we were on our run to security and boarding.  And we made it by the skin of our teeth.  Thank you, Tony! Honest, kind and cheerful. 

If you think that it is not that big of a deal, I admire you – because probably you would do the same and help a stranger without any gain for yourself.  For everyone else – when you ask “How are you?” please MEAN IT!

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