To the TSA agent at JFK airport:
First of all, I know your job must not be easy. And to be honest, you're not exactly my favorite professionals I have to deal with. You guys tend to be a little handsy, and I'm not a huge fan of having to take my shoes off before I get to board my flight. Also, you took a corkscrew from me once. Not cool.
So honestly, I'm a little surprised that I'm writing this letter to you, Mr. JFK TSA Agent (sorry, I was too much of a wreck to catch your name).
I'm not going to mince words here: I was a mess. I was on the verge of tears from frustration, out of breath from running through the terminal, and wet from the downpour of rain outside. When I first ran up to you, begging for help, I think you may have thought I was mentally unstable. Really though -- I didn't blame you for asking how old I was and if I was traveling alone. I looked more like a lost little kid than a 22-year-old on a business trip.
But you held it together when I lost it completely. You helped me take some deep breaths, wipe my eyes, and stop looking so completely batshit crazy. You led me out to the ticket counter, helped me cut the security line, and personally vouched that I was "with you" in a place not really known for letting things slide. You listened to my story -- how I'd been deplaned because of faulty brakes, then delayed four hours because of an issue with FAA's radar, then my flight disappeared from the departure board -- all of which worked in a combined effort to bring me, on the brink of a breakdown, to you. You were helpful, and you'd be surprised how many other people I asked that weren't. You didn't patronize me, or make me feel ridiculous for crying in an airport terminal. Although that would've been a fair response.
I don't think to you it was a ridiculously big deal. At least I hope it wasn't -- but frankly it was five minutes out of your day, and I'm sure you've seen worse. But what I hope is a big deal is how big of a deal it was to me. After a frantic afternoon with a surprisingly large number of mishaps from my favorite airline, the five people I had encountered before you were patronizing, belittling and rude. All I wanted were answers and a bit of help, and all I got were a lot of people telling me they couldn't help me.
I wish I had gotten your name, but I hope you know the impression you left on me. I'm sure you encounter ruder people than the ones I encountered at a much higher rate than I did, and I know my problems are small in the greater scheme of things. But they're my problems and they are big to me, and I appreciated you for respecting them.
So thanks, TSA dude. And Go Rangers!
Frantic passenger looking for flight 413
Follow Nile Cappello on Twitter: www.twitter.com/liketheriver_