(Community Matters) Today, flying from Houston to LA I sat next to a young woman and her father. My first thought was hey buddy, you’re sitting in my seat – the coveted 7C, short of an upgrade there’s none better on United.
Then I noticed, he didn’t look so well, so I “inquired” about the seat. He asked if I’d mind trading and take the bulkhead window. Over the course of the flight I learned he has a very short time to live. Started out as prostrate cancer, then bladder, lung and now bones. On top of it all, he fell and broke his hip, has a blood clot in one leg and has developed a pretty bad wound on his back. They flew to LA for his one last visit to see his older brother. His daughter called it his bucket list wish.
Tim is only 65 years old, grew up in the Bronx; he’s been an appraiser in Orlando the last 30 years. Megan didn’t say but I doubt she’s 30. I didn’t have the heart to ask about Megan’s mom; they told me they were all they had.
I noticed they didn’t order lunch when the flight attendant told them there were no free snacks, and imagined the expenses of battling his disease (only diagnosed in Dec), his being out of work and the cost of the trip were already stretching wallets. While Megan left for an extended bathroom break, Tim told me how worried he was for her; how it’d been so much harder on her than him, even though he’s in chronic pain – he gets meds; she doesn’t. When Megan returned her dad took his turn. She was so happy he was opening up. She’d written me a note while in the bathroom because she didn’t want to explain his situation in front of him. She’s his only care taker but insecure how long she can keep it up.
We’ve already traded a couple of text messages. I don’t exactly know how someone can help in these situations but it seems we must.