While he and his wife were waiting in the ticketing line, he overheard a man at the counter trying to get a ticket to Las Vegas. He was having trouble. He only had $150 and that wasn’t enough. The ticketing agent was pretty unhelpful and told him he needed to go online and look for other options.
The man kept trying to explain his situation to her but wasn’t getting anywhere. His English language abilities were limited, so it was difficult for him to communicate. He was becoming increasingly frustrated—and she was becoming increasingly indifferent.
After he finally, despondently, turned away from the counter, my wife’s colleague, Fernando, went up to the man and asked what was up. He speaks Spanish so was able to understand his story.
The man had lost his job here in the San Francisco area, had no place to live, and only $150 in his pocket. He had family who were living in Las Vegas and was trying to get there. He was told he could get a ticket for $150, but told Fernando that he couldn’t read, didn’t have a computer, and didn’t know how to access the internet from the airport—let alone navigate how to purchase a low fare ticket.
Fernando believed him and wanted to help him. They walked back to the counter and Fernando purchased a $330 ticket to Las Vegas for the man.
Fernando didn’t ask for anything and trusted that this guy’s story was true. He followed his heart, because he wanted to help him. And most importantly, he did.
May this incredibly kind gesture from a stranger, who paid attention and cared enough to listen to this man’s story and take some action, be a turning point for him to get back on track.
It was a Good Samaritan helping another who was down on their luck—most likely an immigrant, most definitely a human being—so he might have some safety, better his life, and be with his family.
Not only that, a month later when Fernando’s wife was going through the credit card statement, she saw the charge and asked her husband, “Wasn’t that ticket $240? Why is the bill $330?”
Fernando sheepishly replied, “I upgraded him.”