By Naayaa Mehta –
Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Dave was a successful United Airline’s manager with nine Best Manager Awards in nine years of his career for always making sure his flights were on time and always following the rules to his credit. It was always taken for granted that Dave would be promoted to the post of senior manager in his tenth year, a feat no one had ever achieved before. Customers would purposely take his flights because they never got delayed and had the best service.
One foggy Christmas eve, two weeks before the award ceremony, Dave was put to the test of his life. He was a creature of logic where his mind ruled. His eyes and his mind missed nothing. If there was a rule he was sure to follow it himself and ensure others working under him did it too. When it came to time, he would ensure punctuality while he was the man if you were in a crisis for he was known for taking logical and correct decisions even under extreme pressure. As it was Christmas eve everyone was rushing to get home and a delayed flight wasn’t something anyone wanted. The fog was horribly thick and the flight from San Francisco to Phoenix had got delayed by half an hour. A few passengers on the plane had to catch the last flight of the day connecting to Lubbock, Texas which was scheduled to leave in ten minutes of the flight coming from San Francisco’s original time. Dave, knowing that the protocol was to make sure the flight to Lubbock departed on time, told the captain to leave on its scheduled time, whether San Francisco flight arrived on time or not.
A minute later, Dave got a call from the San Franciscan flight crew about a young woman on board who had to get on the flight to Lubbock. The passenger’s name was Kara Dean and her mother was in Lubbock and was in a critical stage.
* * *
Kara was clearly distraught when she found out that the flight she was on had got delayed because of the thick, Christmas eve fog. Her 55-year-old mother had been admitted in the hospital a week ago as her heart was giving her issues. 4 hours before, Kara had got a call from her sister who stayed with their mom, telling her to come home to Lubbock immediately and meet mom as the night might be her last. Kara had packed as fast as she could and booked a ticket for a connecting flight to Lubbock.
And now she wouldn’t be able to see her mum. Tears started pouring out of her eyes. The airhostess came up to her with a napkin and told Kara they would try to do something for her. She only remembered the countless tissues that the airhostess gave her and the people coming up to her to comfort her.
But in her mind, she had kind of accepted that she wouldn’t be able to see her.
* * *
Dave knew in his mind that he had to follow the rules as always, but for the first time in his life he hesitated. This time his heart told him something different. He looked at the empty space next to his nine Best Manager Awards on the shelf above his desk and knew what he had to do would break over a hundred rules. Silently biding goodbye to his tenth Best Manager Award, Dean called the Lubbock flight captain and told him that his flight was not cleared for take off and he should hold and pick up a passenger named Kara Dean
* * *
The flight from San Francisco landed twenty minutes later and Kara was on the Lubbock Flight in less than 10 minutes. She reached Lubbock and was escorted to the airport cab that was waiting for her. The cab had been booked for her by the Phoenix airport manager, Dave. Kara was overwhelmed with emotion. Not only did the staff help her catch the flight they also made sure she didn’t have to wait for a taxi. She made it to the hospital in time to meet her mother and spend time with her before she passed away the next morning.
— — —
Sure, Dave didn’t get the next Best Manager Award but for him just knowing that Kara Dean was able to meet her mother in time, was an award enough. Eyes tell us all we want to know but they have one major limitation, they can’t help us see what the other person actually needs. At times like these, one has to see from the heart and let it lead them. Decisions of the heart may not be always logically correct, but are always right.
The Shri Ram School, Moulsari Avenue, Gurgaon