Flying Home from RootsTech and Meeting an Angel

With five children who need us home, we usually leave conferences before they’re over. We headed over to the Salt Lake City airport while the last RootsTech 2019 session was underway. Our trials flying home were just beginning

We had mastered the UTA Trax by now and piled the suitcases on my lap to simplify that part of the journey. That worked well.

We're headed home!

Things work smoothly when Andy’s around to push.

The Connection Home Will Be Tight

However, our plane from Salt Lake City did not leave on-time and had challenges meeting the schedule when we landed in Phoenix. So many delays occurred that the flight staff asked folks who didn’t have a tight schedule to let those with a connecting flight to get off first. That group included Andy and I. The troubles began to grow.

First, Andy took one suitcase and the heavy portable studio and ran off to our connecting gate. His job centered on reaching the gate in time to ask them to wait for me.

Meanwhile, I had to wait for my chariot to make its way up to the jetway. The plane nearly emptied before my wheelchair had arrived. Compounding my troubles involved the lack of airport personnel to assist the disabled (even though two of us had “assistance needed” typed on our plane tickets).

I had a suitcase, myself in a wheelchair and extra bags. (Just imagine the picture above with no Andy doing the pushing.)

I could push myself but how would I get up the jetway? Thankfully the attendant pushed me up to the top of the bridge. Then I was on my own.

If you’ve never done this before, pushing yourself in a wheelchair isn’t too bad :

  1. if you don’t have your lap covered in suitcases, bags, and more.

  2. if you don’t have to push yourself up a ramp.

  3. if you don’t have to push yourself up from the farthest point in one bank of gates, across a terminal bridge, and down the next bank of gates.

  4. if you need to do it in under 10 minutes.

Let’s just say I begin to cry. Andy couldn’t help. There were no agents available to ask. What was I going to do?

There Are Angels Among Us

God is so good because an angel appeared and began pushing. I don’t know her name, what she looked like, or where she was from. I do know she was at least 20 years older than me and ready to help.

Wheelchair pushing

I’ve liked this graphic for some time. I finally have an excuse to use it!

Several times I told her that is she could just get me to one point I could manage from there. She would not hear of it. She pushed me all the way to the gate.

At one point she was extremely winded and set her stuff down near some total strangers at a random gate. She quickly said, “Watch this,” and pushed me on. I know you’re not supposed to do that at the airport, but these people could tell that she was a saint in physical form and agreed to watch her stuff.

We caught the connecting flight

We arrived to meet Andy at the gate in the nick of time to board the plane and head home. My angel disappeared in a flash with a, “my pleasure.”

With the political climate making it seem that nobody gets along anymore, this one act of kindness restored my faith in total strangers here in America. I could not have caught my connecting flight without her.

Now that we’re home from RootsTech, we need to find ways to return the kindness.

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