We had just arrived on a very early morning flight. We were walking across the Atrium of the Domestic Terminal at Atlanta airport with breakfast on our minds. All of a sudden I noticed that she was no longer walking beside me. She had stopped to talk to somebody sitting on one of the sofa chairs in the atrium. I guessed that the person had caught her attention while we were walking by. I also guessed that the person was asking her for something. We should just walk by, I was thinking to myself. You cannot stop to help everybody who tries to get your attention. But I, of all the people, should have realized that this is the kind of person she is. She helps everybody.
I kept walking for a little bit and then stopped. The conversation was still going on behind me, and I was getting annoyed. She had basically left my side without a warning. We have things to do, I was thinking to myself. In reality, we had a lot time on our hands while waiting for others to arrive.
When she finally finished and walked to where I was waiting for her, I was a little angry.
We sat down for breakfast. She asked me why I had gotten angry. I said that you cannot help everybody.
“What did he want?”
“He just wanted some food.”
She reminded me that she was carrying a stash of snacks for the trip. She had stopped to give some of this to the person who had asked for food. Sitting at the table while anticipating a special breakfast treat (at an IHOP no less!), I felt a little ashamed of myself.
I immediately realized that my response to her action had been completely inappropriate. I had been wrong. I had been selfish. If you were going to be true to yourself, you have to not just talk the talk, but you have to also walk the walk. One should try to do better all the time, not just when it suits you.