I was recently traveling and bad weather had surrounded some of the destination airports, causing many flights to get canceled or delayed. I was sitting by the gate, having changed my flight to another one already and was watching the unfortunate airline rep at the gate counter. She was being bombarded by a number of people who seemed to assume that the poor weather, flight cancellations and everything else causing them grief was her fault and each one in turn laid all of their grief on her and I could see she was being pushed to the brink.
A little ah-ha light bulb flashed in my mind and since I am apt to follow my instinct, I stood up and took my place in the line of people intent on sharing their bad day with her. I patiently waited my turn and when I was finally standing in front of her, her weary eyes looked up to me, her forehead creased with stress and she asked "May I help you, sir?"
I said "Yes you can". I then asked her to act busy while I spoke to her. I told her I stood in line to give her a 5 minute break. While she typed (I have no idea what she typed), I explained to her that while all of these people were intent on ruining her day, the fact that she had other people in her life that really cared about her and that she had passions in her life that gave her life meaning was far more important than what was happening here today. Given all of that, the stuff happening here wasn't important and shouldn't stress her out. We chatted back and forth for a few minutes as she continued to look busy.
After seeing her regain her composure, I knew she had to get back to her work and I wished her a great day, telling her it was time for the next customer. She looked up at me and I could see that her eyes were slightly welling up. "Thank you so much", she said, "I don't know how to thank you for this".
I smiled and told her the best way to thank me was to pass on the kindness to someone else when she had the opportunity.
Have a great day.