Photo: Paxson Woelber
One man’s actions affected thousands of people across the country when he abandoned his rental car at a curb at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, shutting down a terminal. He was probably running late for his flight and wanted to hurry inside the airport and get on his way.
Five hours later, the airport terminal finally reopened after police deemed the car not a threat — but the damage had been done. Three hundred flights had been delayed and others canceled, affecting travelers not just in the Phoenix area, but nationwide.
It’s easy to point fingers and judge the guy, but any of us could have done something similar. We often fail to assess how our actions could affect anyone beyond us. And yet, like in this scenario, others are often the victims of our choices, good or bad.
I bet when the man woke up that morning, he had no idea how many people his day’s actions would affect. How could he?
Yet our actions can and do impact those around us — even people we don’t know. Think about it, when a couple you know gets a divorce, for example, it can kind of put you in the middle, as you feel like you have to divide your loyalties between the two instead of being loyal to the unit.
One of my cousins recently passed away. When he awoke the morning of his last day here on Earth, I’m sure he didn’t know it was his final day. And he may not have realized the impact he had made on all of the lives he had encountered in his 45 years.
More than 300 people showed up to celebrate his life at a memorial service, all touched in one way or another by the words and actions of my cousin. But that wasn’t the extent of his influence. Many others who would have liked to have paid their respects couldn’t afford the time or airfare to get to Alaska for the service.
You are influential. Whatever you do today can have a lasting effect. I for one am going to try to keep that in mind. I hope you’ll join me.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"