The Escalator

I had to take a flight early this morning, leaving during a particularly busy time from a particularly busy airport.

I was approaching the escalator that went down towards the gate, and I saw a young boy, looked about 4, terrified of the machine that everyone else was hopping on so easily. He had his little Spider-man roller suitcase clutched tightly and was trembling and crying about the prospect of leaping onto a machine seemingly made (from his perspective) of perpetually-gnashing metal teeth.

His dad looked to be a guy my age, and was not impatient or unkind about this. He leaned down and said, “Okay, I know it looks pretty scary! But we can do it together, okay? Hold my hand, and on three we’ll jump together.” He counted three and they jumped, and the kid giggled at the stairs moving beneath his feet, but dad held him steady. “Ha ha, it moves pretty fast, huh?” he said cheerily, turning it into a fun ride instead of a scary danger.

I watched this moment happily and stepped onto the escalator behind them. They got to the bottom, and there was an older couple half-frantic waiting. They immediately seemed relieved when they saw the two, and profusely offered up their gratitude.

“Oh thank you thank you! It was so crowded and busy we hadn’t even noticed that he didn’t follow us down the escalator and then we couldn’t see where he was. We were starting to panic when we saw you coming down. Thank you so much for helping our grandson, it’s his first time ever flying.”

And this guy, who was not the kids’s dad, didn’t even know the kid, just said, “Oh, no problem. Have a good flight, little guy!” And the kid smiled and waved and dragged his little Spider-man roller suitcase with his grandparents off to their destination.

Humans are good. Humans are so good.

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