Finding graciousness in airports

Airports Throughout The World are settings for daily human contacts that often provoke friction. Security checks, passport control, immigration and naturalization services, customs, are all places where a polite word and smile—or the lack of them—can make a difference. Airports are in many ways a microcosm of life everywhere. Anxiety, stress, the pressure of time, unfamiliar surroundings, exhaustion, noise, fear—all these make us act or react in ways that are not natural to us.

Recent world events have contributed to this problem, often making people feel distrustful of others—especially when they are stranded in a hostile environment. It happened to me a couple of years ago in the international airport in Kinshasa. But that experience restored my faith in the innate kindness and graciousness of individuals, and their basic goodness.

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