The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.


Emir, one of the men working at security, introduces himself. Polite, friendly, grinning and testing his English. Austrian airport security seems a long way from home. He asks about my trip as I shove my computer back in my bag, my toiletries back in my carry-on. He says I can take my time. He says watching people remove and replace their belts all day can get very depressing, but he says it with a laugh. So we laugh.

Emir dashes after a woman to return her abandoned watch from an idle plastic tub. When he hands it over, she gasps, “Well, this is the second time I’ve left it today!”

He returns with a swagger lifted from Clint Eastwood and Hugo Boss. “It was a very nice watch. If you like watches. I do not see why she would try two times to give it away. Maybe later she will be lucky.”

A supervisor clears his throat so Emir returns to his duty–still smiling–and I feel safer already.

–Vienna, Austria.

Mostar, Bosnia, travel

Mostar, Bosnia


8 comments on “Screening

  1. nirbhayasindia
    June 26, 2013

    Your blog has an interesting theme and your posts are a delight to read. Thank you for sharing.

  2. joannerambling
    June 26, 2013

    It makes going through airport security a nice experience when you are greated by a smiling happy person………….

  3. Nice photo. I want a nice airport security person.

  4. anglophiletoad
    June 27, 2013

    International travel trumps domestic every time, for precisely that reason. Airports in the US are like concentration camps anymore, a dramatic change since the traveling days of my youth. I would gladly risk a little less security if they would just stop making me feel like a criminal every time I step up to the line…

  5. johnageddes
    June 28, 2013

    I enjoyed this photo. Have spent quite a bit of time in Mostar over the past 10 years but not recently. I tried to upload a photo of the same street from the other direction here but not able to do it. Thanks for the photo and, as usual, your musings.

  6. Maxima
    June 28, 2013

    I really enjoy your posts, they’re so inspiring and positive. Thank you

  7. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    January 11, 2016

    Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    Have a fantastic week!

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