Sunday, February 19, 2017

So...there was this OTHER guy...

on the same flight home from Sao Paulo the other night!  He was young, probably early to mid-20s, travelling with his family, maybe 6-8 total.  This young man was the polar opposite of our "E+ guy".  He didn't just look in your direction when you addressed him (which in itself is a rarity for those of his age these days).  He looked to make eye contact with you.   Every time!

Once contact was made, his face morphed into a radiant smile.  My immediate reaction, 21st century cynic that I am was, "What is THAT for?"

Life has placed challenge in this young man's path.  I learned quickly that he must be congenitally deaf.  When asked about his dinner choice, his reply was LOUD and had the characteristic atonality of someone who had never heard or who had never heard well, "Whuh?".  His head turned slightly and I saw that he had cochlear implants with hearing aids.  I looked him straight on and repeated the choice.  He beamed as he said, "bee".

His family didn't speak English, so he proceeded to help them make a decision about dinner, loudly and, astoundingly proudly.  He seemed so proud to be able to help them.  It took some time, but I pretended not to understand their "frango" or "carne" so that he could relay, "chi'en" or "bee".

He must have been paying attention to my interaction with "E+ guy" because when I rose from my break, he was settling his family members into the remaining open seats in D zone, making them all more comfortable.  His appearance was striking.  He looked like a character from Harry Potter: over his cothes he wore a long trenchcoat-looking thing made of something like black satin.  It was very "wizardly" looking.

Just after the pre-arrival breakfast, he came to the aft galley to ask for more Customs forms, in English, "Coul' I ha' mo' fo'ms peaz?"

In all those interactions, one thing was constant:  that smile.  "What is THAT for?", I remembered thinking.

I have a pretty good idea what the smile is for.  And I don't think it's any coincidence that my Harry Potter Wizard was onboard the same flight as my E+ guy.

At 56 years old, I pretty much don't believe in "coincidences" any more.

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