Nice Timing

Nice Timing

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Create Your Best Future

Nice Timing

Life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, words and deeds return to us — sooner or later — with astounding accuracy.

~Florence Shinn

Ihad spent over five grueling years on my dissertation for my Ph.D. and was frantically preparing for my oral boards. The boards were to be held in California, and I had scheduled a flight through Minneapolis, where I was to change planes and get to John Wayne Airport. My incoming flight was very late, and I was soon in an all-out sprint to catch my flight to California. Very few people were left in the concourse. I had to stop to catch my breath on a moving sidewalk when I noticed a woman in her fifties struggling with a carry-on bag.

I don’t know why, but I looked at her face and blurted out, “Are you going on flight 567 to California?”

She responded, “Yes.”

“So am I,” I responded. “Give me your bag. I’ll run ahead and tell them to wait for you.” I took her bag and started sprinting again.

I raced onto the plane and told a flight attendant that one more passenger was behind me and to please hold the plane for her. I seated myself with her bag, and a few moments later she arrived and was the last person on the plane before they closed the doors and took off. After the plane leveled off, I presented the bag to her, and she smiled at me and thanked me.

I didn’t sleep a wink in the hotel that I stayed at before my oral boards and arrived at the university at seven o’clock in the morning. The board kept me waiting for an hour in a room before the defense of my dissertation began. I walked into the boardroom and was initially intimidated by all the professors in their regal robes. As I slowly glanced at the faces of all the board members, I noticed the bright face of a woman directly in the center of the board. She looked at me, gave me a flirtatious smile like a young schoolgirl and winked at me. It was the same woman whose bag I had carried ahead the night before. Needless to say, whenever I stumbled on any questions, she did a great job of extricating me.

~Thomas De Paoli

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