A Common Language of Compassion

Hi. I’ve missed you the last several weeks. I hope this new schedule is suiting you well. I recently went on a trip to San Antonio with Life University’s Compassion Integrity Training. It was an intense three days of learning, connecting, and discussing compassion with people from all over the US, Canada and Mexico. How beautiful to see the many ways each of us can take this work of compassion into our communities.

On my way home, boarding the plane to Atlanta, I noticed several Latina mother’s and their young children standing together in a group. They all had some kind of name badge on and we’re carrying bright yellow cloth shopping bags, stuffed full and handles tied together. They looked unsure and a bit lost.

We boarded the plane and made it safely to Atlanta. Once in the Atlanta terminal I kept a lookout for these fellow passengers, as I know that Hartsfield Jackson Airport can be quite overwhelming. I noticed one of the mothers going up to a gate agent with a blue piece of paper in her hand. She was promptly pointed to back to her arrival gate without a look at the paper. I stepped up to the woman and asked if she needed some help and she handed me the blue piece of paper. It explained that she was traveling on to Fort Lauderdale and didn’t speak any English. She needed some guidance as to where the next departure gate would be. We walked back to our gate where we had just disembarked and I noticed another fellow passenger speaking to several of the other mothers in Spanish and looking at the screen with connecting flight information. The woman I had brought over was quite stressed as her paperwork said her boarding time was 5:20 PM and it was now 5:30 PM. I told the other passenger who was helping out that I would take this mom and her son to Concourse A to catch their flight. We walked quickly and jumped on the train. With my limited Spanish, all I understood was that the mom’s name was Angel and her son was 10-year-old Angelo. They were from Honduras. They got my name too, but that was about it. I should’ve paid more attention in my Spanish class!

We got to the gate just in time, as they were already boarding zone 2. Then, I realized they probably hadn’t eaten anything – at least since we left San Antonio hours before. Luckily, there was a small food kiosk across from the gate. I motioned them over to the kiosk and asked them what they wanted to eat. Angelo chose a banana and Angel chose one of the protein boxes with cheese and crackers and grapes. That’s all…. I suggested something more but they said no thank you. I motioned for them to go back to the gate and board the plane and not wait as I paid for their snacks. Big smiles and they were off. And here is the best moment…the cashier at the kiosk said that she gave me her employee discount. She totally understood – no words needed. I was so touched. The whole experience showed me how we can watch out for one another. A common language of compassion. 

Nobody knew the full story, but we each saw the preciousness of one another. Strangers without words, now a secret community.

Travel safe my friends and look out for one another.

Leanne Rubenstein 
Compassion Cultivator
Compassionate Atlanta

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