The Nice Thing About Strangers

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


A woman in a neon yellow button-up shirt, a white sweater, and neon yellow slacks catches the attention of a middle-aged man who suddenly can’t remove his backpack properly. He gets a bit tangled up as she passes. His original idea to remove the bag and sit is lost in a flustered attempt to free himself from suddenly so many straps.

The neon lady leaves her carry-on roller bag half in front of two vacant seats, and wanders away to talk on the phone. This catches a lot of attention as well, since unattended baggage may be destroyed, according to the robotic warning played periodically from speakers overhead. Many eyes go from the woman to the suitcase, and some passengers near the suitcase shift in their seats.

An elderly woman approaches the left-behind suitcase. She aims to move it so she can take the chair next to her husband–her rightful place, and worth touching a stranger’s abandoned bag to acquire.  Neon lady swoops in to wordlessly roll her bag away from the woman’s seat and in front of the fully vacant space. She moves off to continue her phone call without a blink or gesture of apology. The older woman huffs at the manners, but accepts a tablet computer from her husband. She flips open the cover with an eyebrow up. Yet her frustration subsides quickly as she leans near her husband. He touches her arm and they huddle in and smile over photos from their newest grandchild–a brand new hope.

–Denver International Airport.


4 comments on “Eye-Catching

  1. evelyneholingue
    July 24, 2015

    Airports are where we meet either the kindest or rudest people. I tend to be like the older woman and let go. A loved one’s help is of course sweet. As always, it’s a nice post, Paige.

  2. Maureen
    July 24, 2015

    love your observations

  3. davecenker
    July 25, 2015

    Love this Paige! It’s not the flashy, gaudy, and in-your-face occurrences in our life that have the most compelling effects on our future. It’s those subtle, quiet, and tender moments shared with those near to us that spring eternal love – and hope. Thanks for sharing, always enjoy your charming and endearing words 🙂

    • 🙂 I tell my students when we are studying art that the biggest lesson can be learning how others are motivated. An example is always how it can help us to understand other people’s fashion choices. I thought as I saw this woman who was wearing a color I have never donned–here’s our Picasso moment. 😀

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