It’s Tuesday, 18th of October, and I’m heading to the Kempegowda International Airport to board a flight to Pune after a job interview. The CEO of the company was nice enough to get my web check-in done so that I didn’t waste any time in the queue. There was a foreigner couple with a baby also checking in with me in the same airlines, and the on-ground crew was being really helpful.
Now for those of you who are not aware of the checks at the Kempegowda International Airport, firstly, it’s bigger when you compare it with other cities, and secondly, the check-in is on the ground floor and the security check, on the first floor which then leads to the gates. Since I didn’t have to worry about the check-in bit, I rushed to the security check.
On an average, there are 2-3 gates for women and around 7-8 for men because usually there are a lesser number of female passengers. I found the couple struggling to keep up again and volunteered to help the lady with her child through the security check, while her husband stood in the other line. I willingly helped her with the luggage through the screening while she stood for the body scan in the queue next to mine.
When I came outside after the body scan, I saw that the woman’s baggage had been kept aside and she was weeping, trying to explain something to the staff, and neither of them could understand the other. I somehow figured that the kid’s boarding pass was with the lady’s husband and asked her to calm down and wait until I got it from him.
Again, the men’s queue is longer and more in number, so it took me some time to find him, but I got the boarding pass back to the lady and helped her with the other documents since the child was getting restless by then. They had some oil and other things which had to be left behind during the security check according to cabin luggage protocols, which made me realise that maybe they’re not used to travelling by air. I took a quick look at their boarding pass and saw that they were travelling to Mumbai and had to take Gate 3. The lady’s husband came in after the security check while we waited and thanked me for my help, we wished each other a safe journey and waved goodbye.
In the back of my mind, I was also hoping to reach my gate in time. Although I had travelled from this airport quite a few times, I just couldn’t seem to find my gate number! All I could see was Gate 1 and 2 on my left and, 7-9 and 15 on my right. I double checked my gate number which was 4 and stumbled upon a not-so-visible signboard near the elevator that said ‘Gates 3-6’ and was on the ground floor.
I quickly took my baggage and hurried down since I just had 15 odd minutes to spare until the boarding time. I reached the seating area in front of the gate and saw that passengers were boarding a bus to the aircraft, on the adjacent gate, and the screen read that the flight was leaving for Mumbai! That was Gate 3! I did not see the couple and was sure that they’d miss the flight if I didn’t do anything in time. I left my baggage with a fellow passenger and went to speak to the woman at the gate, enquiring if the couple had boarded the flight, to which she said no. Upon asking her to send someone to look for them, she said that she was short staffed and someone had to be at the gate for the incoming passengers. Also, I was aware that my flight was to start boarding in 7 minutes which left me puzzled. But I knew that they would face more problems if they missed the flight. Without a second thought, I ran looking for them. And let me tell you, it’s quite a task to find anyone in such a big airport. Luckily, I didn’t have to look much and found them heading my way. The look on their faces when they saw that I was looking for them is unexplainable! I directed them to their gate and told them to hurry. Then I took my place at my gate and watched them take the bus.
There were so many emotions rushing through me as I sat down in front of Gate 4. That’s when I started thinking about what would have happened if, in fact amidst all this, I would have missed my flight. But I also knew that they would have missed theirs for sure if no one would have helped them and the feeling was very rewarding.
I don’t intend to say that it was a great deed that I did, but it’s just that when people need help, and you see it, you should try to help them; and why not? When people are travelling abroad, they usually plan quite in advance and start saving up for a trip that maybe would be their only trip to that country. It’s our duty as residents, to assist and help them and others because it’s really our country that they’ve come to experience and because it’s basic humanity to do so.