This morning I brought the wife and kid to the Venice Airport. While we were waiting in line to check their bags, there was a young girl of maybe 21 standing at the customer service window off to the side with a 2-3 year old boy who was screaming bloody murder. She was obviously an American spouse from the base and seemed to be dealing with some kind of problem and the screaming child was just exasperating her even further. You could tell that everyone in line felt for the poor girl. I looked down at the X Man and thought to myself "I'm glad you're not like that".
So I get the wife and kid checked in, get them through the gate, say my goodbyes and head to the ATM to get some money for parking and a panini. The ATM near the Brek cafe would not take my card. I knew there was another ATM but it was downstairs and allllll the way at the end of the terminal. I debated forgoing the panini for a minute and just leaving but my love of Italian sandwiches got the best of me and I headed to the other ATM. When I got there, I saw the poor girl from the check in line with the little boy standing there with an airline employee. She was obviously having some kind of problem and was getting frantic because the ATM would not take her card. She called someone on her cell phone as the airline employee kept telling her he was sorry, there was nothing he could do. As I completed my ATM transaction, I overheard her talking on the phone getting more frantic and desperate by the second. Before long she was openly weeping. Apparently her husband had deployed the day before and was in Kuwait. She and the baby were supposed to fly home to her family but nobody told her she would need 160 euros (about $200) to pick up her ticket at the airport and she only had about 100 bucks with her. So she couldn't get on the plane and she had no way to get back to Vicenza.
There are times in your life when you are put in certain situations. How you react to them is up to you - you can choose not to get involved and go on with your life or you can step up to the plate.. At that moment, it was clear to me what I had to do. When she hung up the phone I asked her what the problem was. She frantically explained it to me and I told her not to worry, I would pay the 160 euros for her. The airline employee was going on about how sorry he was but there was nothing he could do and I just told him to tell me what he needed, I would take care of it. He took us up to the counter, I gave the guy my credit card, he charged the 160 euros and the poor girl and her baby made the plane with little time to spare. She of course insisted on getting my name and address so she could pay me back. I told her not to worry but she continued to insist so I gave it to her. I may or may not ever hear from her again, but it doesn't matter. To be able to help a deployed soldier's wife and baby get home is worth the 160 euros it cost me.
God bless our troops...and their families.