Help Me Find Beverly - The Woman Who Saved Me - The Day My Mom Died #ThanksBeverly
Updated: Jul 5
Please help me make #thanksbeverly go far and wide.
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I would like to find her, so I can thank her.
My hero on one of the worst days of my life.
When I found out my mother had just died I was on the runway inside an airplane. November 15, 2016. I have to say that #Delta airlines really took care of me. Unbelievable.
When I turned around from where I had been facing the window and crying, talking on the phone and crying, there was nobody left on the plane. All of the passengers had left, exiting to Atlanta to carry on with their lives or to their connections.
Behind me stood two stewardesses. Gazing on me with complete compassion one of them said: “don’t worry, there is a red coat coming” This made absolutely no sense at all. But I felt so out of it, I wasn’t even sure if it was supposed to make sense or not. An entire plane had just de-boarded without me even noticing. “Red coat” Sounded like something out of the civil war was about to happen, which is exactly what it felt like in the hours and days that followed…
A tall black woman in a red business jacket suddenly appeared. She came walking down the isle of the plane, looking directly at me as though I was her mission, tissue box in hand. She came and sat beside me and took me in her arms. She said to me “I heard your mom died, come here let me just hold you, you need a hug” Never in my life had I been held like that by a stranger, not that I could recall anyway. She rocked me like a baby and I sobbed in her arms. She walked me off the plane and sat me in a chair that she and her partner Arthur could push me around in. I felt ridiculous getting into a wheelchair, but I complied, drained. Her name was Beverly.
When we got into the terminal she asked me, “so you need to go back home right? Well I’m going to make that happen and take care of everything for you right now, get your bag and you back on a plane home, and we are not charging anything extra so don’t you worry about that ok..” Suddenly my brain kicked in, like a button had been pushed, I was thinking again, though it was short lived. But wait I said, it’s complicated. I was headed to a conference and meeting a colleague there. One bag must go to Tennessee, and some things from the bag coming home have to be added to the other. She thought for a minute and asked me to run her through what needed to happen. I was not at all sure of how clearly I was verbalizing anything. One second I felt able to communicate and clear and the next I was falling apart and answering panicked phone calls.
Well this woman was an angel. She managed to figure out what I needed, pull my bags off the plane and repack them on the other side of the window where I could see them, sending all that needed to go on to the conference there and my clothes back home with me. How she heard what I needed and got the impossible done I will never know.
Once my bags were handled, I came undone again. Calls had come non stop in between, there was a crisis with my father in progress. My brother called, Jeff had called. “Oh honey I’m so sorry. I’m here with your brother and we can’t get your dad to calm down. He won’t believe that your mom is gone and he just wants the paramedics to help put her back to bed. He’s convinced she’s ok, but I think she is gone. She uh, doesn’t look like she’s here anymore but nobody can get near her to tell, your brother is here, I can’t get past the police to get in there.” He said. “Police? Damn-it did I have to be so far away?” The long and the short of it is I spent the next several hours on the phone listening and crying into a dark spiral, time lost.
Hearing the on goings of the situation at home, and being stuck in an airport waiting for my flight… I stopped functioning. Shock, I must have been in shock. The red coat lady, Beverly. She was nearby, typing on her computer to arrange my next flight, hearing bits and pieces.
Once my flight home was all set she told me the time and the gate. I was really struggling to understand what I was to do next. All the years and all the flights I had been on were a blank to me now. Though I had made at least 100 connections in the Atlanta Airport over the past 15 years, I really barely had any idea where I was. I nodded yes and said ok but felt completely disoriented.
She saw me there looking stunned at the information and instead of sending me on my way she wheeled me into a Delta break room and hugged me again, saying she would return to pick me up and bring me to my flight when it was time. She sent a stream of employees in every few minutes; they checked on me. Some gave me a quick hug or a pat on the shoulder, offered me water, or brought me tissues.
What might have happened had she not been there, I can not say. I do know it helped me so much to have someone helping me get through such an awful time.
I have reflected back on Beverly with gratitude many times. My dad died in the hospital a few days later. After the double funeral of my parents passed, it took some months before I was able to come up for air, but I thought about her often. I looked for her through Delta, with no success. After never ending hold times full of people who didn't know where to send me. I don't know her last name.
I wanted to send flowers, a thank you card, something to let her know how grateful I am that though we were complete strangers, she took such good care of me during some of the hardest moments of my life. Yes it was her job, but she did it extraordinarily well. Without her compassion and assistance I might have been blindly wandering through the Atlanta airport for hours or days.
I have decided to create the hash tag #thanksbeverly to raise awareness about helping strangers who are emotionally distraught and hopefully one day find Beverly and express my gratitude. Human compassion is an amazing thing. Be compassionate to strangers in need. You just might make a huge difference in what comes next for them. Seeing a stranger cry and break down often sends passerby's running in the opposite direction. I encourage you to take a moment and see what you can do.
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Beverly if this blog post makes a landing in your life,
please contact me.