The Kindness of Cleveland Airport

The first day of official spring marked a winter snowstorm throughout much of the east coast and some of the Midwest yesterday. With my short ten day trip throughout several states of America, it was inevitable that my flight was cancelled from Cleveland to Washington D.C.  Luckily I was informed before making it to the airport, and simply spent more time with my cousin and her family bonding.

It was out of my control, despite trying to reschedule multiple flights, and being on hold with the airlines for one hour.  I settled for one of the first flights out this morning.  I had no choice but to accept my fate, the fact that I will miss the morning of my conference, and pay for one night at the hotel I didn’t stay in. I tried to not ruminate about these occurrences.

But as I checked into the airport today, somehow things turned out to be a breeze.  One might expect all airport staff to be irritable, as I am sure numerous travelers yesterday may have been stranded and angry.  Emotions are contagious. I assumed residual impact today.  It was surprising to see the opposite.

I have to note that Cleveland Airport chose to take customer service to the next level.  I noticed numerous TSA agents joking with families as they checked in, and momentarily all of us were pre-approved to be TSA pre-screened.  Our shoes didn’t have to come off, or our bagged liquids or electronics.  It was an unexpected treat.  The simplicity of travelling pre-9/11 existed again. I overheard another passenger thanking a TSA agent for the joy it brought others to have this service momentarily.

From each service I got in the morning, from breakfast, to coffee, to the flight staff members who honored my upgraded seat from yesterday, it was delightful. When you start the day slightly irritable, and apprehensive of how the flight status may turn out, it’s a relief to see how the airport and staff are cushioning your experience with comfort.

Although I am originally from Ohio, i haven’t lived here for 17 years . It’s easy to forget the kindness the Midwest offers.  Smiles and friendliness are the norm.  People may not be bitter with the intensity of commuting that cities offer. It’s refreshing to be around.  When I informed an Ohio friend yesterday that I was stranded another day, he said “you are lucky.”  I asked why?  He responded, “because Ohio is awesome.”  For a moment I thought he was being sarcastic, but he truly has a love for this state, having lived here his entire adult life. This same friend also mentioned to me that Ohio is my home, it may be almost twenty years since I lived here, but people perceive it to be my home.

I can appreciate being from here and acknowledge the beauty the locals hold.  It may not have the celebrity appeal, trendsetting fashion, allure of exotic cuisine , but it has internal warmth and kindness. Thanks Ohio, particularly Cleveland airport 🙂

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