Saturday, October 17, 2009

Metal detector encourager

Anyone who's been through airports knows how taxing, stressful, and sometimes just plain lame getting to your plane can be. There's check in, those luggage tag things, security, delays, screaming kids (sometimes their mine), and you fill in the blank. There's more than enough to make airport users lose their sanity. Take my experience this week where I was chastised by some rubber glove wearing TSA lady who verbally slapped me on the knuckles. Like the nun Meryl Streep played in Doubt, she held up my zip lock bag for my toiletries and tisk-tisked me because it wasn't the right size. Really? Come on.

But here's a tale of one TSA guy who chooses to tell a different story for the hurried business travelers and burned out tourists.

A TSA security guard, stopped me through the metal detector as I handed him my ID and boarding pass. He held up my documents, looked at my name and then looked me in the eyes.

TSA Guy: Anthony, do you know that your name means highly favored by the Lord?
Me: Uh, ya. I think I knew it was something like that. Thank you.

I'll admit I was in my own little "get to my gate," world. I didn't expect that. I had to do a double take. I knew my name meant something like priceless or praiseworthy, but the way he said it jolted me awake. It was like God was reminding me of his love for me, that God was in that mundane moment that I might have written off. I needed that. And then I eavesdropped on the guy behind me whose name was named Joshua.

TSA Guy: Joshua. Do you know what your name means?
Joshua; Uh..No. Um..What?

TSA Guy: It means God saves. Like Yeshua...Jesus. It's the same meaning as Jesus.
Joshua: Oh, ok, wow..thank you.

Then I watched this TSA guy stop every person and do the same thing. He looked at their documents and told them the meaning of their name, with a genuine, warm smile. It was like he was on a mission. Here's a pic I tried to sneak with my cell phone. He's in the blue, blurry shirt.

It really was incredible. Affirming people's value through their name, the one thing he could make personal. Names are meant to be significant and to see this guy making it his goal in his job to encourage people, (in a not so encouraging place), is very commendable. So incredible that I had meet him. His name was Jeff and I was sorry I couldn't return the same favor he extended to me, but I at least wanted to really thank and affirm him. I told him what he was doing was awesome and I had never experienced anything like that before. Then I wrote down my blog address and told him I would write about him in the next couple days. I will remember this guy and continue to tell his story. So Colorado Springs Jeff, TSA guy, if you are reading this:: Thanks for making a difference in my day. God is using you. You deserve a promotion. I'll pray for that! I hope more people take their jobs as seriously as you do and find ways to make a difference in peoples lives. You are intentionally brightening people's days. Intentionality doesn't have to be big, it just has to be intentional.

And, Jeff, TSA guy? Could you.. maybe.. train others to be as friendly as you? It would revolutionize airports around the world. World travel would never be the same. And maybe could you take your skills to the DMV? *and sorry if I broke any laws by taking your picture. It was all in the name of telling a good story.


Christina said...

This is a really great story! Talk about taking your job to the next level...God's level. I am inspired.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to be reminded that God is in every part of our lives, and a blessing when that 'refreshing' is brought to us by a kindred spirit.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of Jeff...He is an all around good guy who always shows God's love to everyone. I am proud to say that he is an awesome family member of ours. Thanks Tony for your 2 cents.
Tricia H.

Tina Westfall said...

Thank you for posting this information. Jeff and his wife are friends of ours from when they lived in Oklahoma. They are very wonderful Christian people who live the Bible every day. Your account of how Jeff does his job tells us that we should all strive to be like Jeff who strives to show Jesus in all that he does. I am so proud of Jeff and also you for telling others. Thank you.

Rene' said...

Wow! I also happen to know "Jeff" from many years ago - during a military tour of duty in Germany. I haven't seen or spoken to him since, but have kept up with his life through occasional e-mails from his wife, Bekah. They have overcome many obstacles, including the challenges of raising a daughter with a medical disability. He is a man who loves God and remains loyal to his family and friends. God has truly shaped him through multiple hardships and struggles. A true witness for us all! Thank you for noticing and stirring others to be aware of "intentional" moments with the people around us!