An everyday angel


Bar fly 1 (A5 coloured pencil 2016)

Friday was a busy and somewhat challenging day, so when I found myself at an airport with four hours to kill before my flight home to London I decided to enjoy a salad and a glass of wine in one of the bars.

Sitting at the counter of an airport bar can be fascinating, listening to the conversations between the other customers and trying to determine their relationships. Are they colleagues, friends or strangers? Has it been a successful business trip or a Christmas present-buying binge? Do they interact with the bar staff to a greater or lesser extent?

It soon became clear that there was a drama going on to my right. A woman was trying to discover if the man seated next to her – who clearly wasn’t on his first cocktail – knew when his flight was boarding. He, on the other hand, was doing that thing that inebriated people on high bar stools often do – trying not to fall off. The bartender – let’s call her Janila – discretely replaced his cocktail glass with one filled with water and pushed a basket of bread rolls in his direction.

Eventually he stood and weaved unsteadily towards the door. Janila told me that one of her colleagues would be happy to serve me with anything else but she had to see the customer to his gate. They disappeared into the airport crowds.

Ten minutes passed, then ten more, and Janila hadn’t returned. When she finally did, she sighed, “His flight was at the furthest gate…” “You didn’t have to do that,” I said as she brought my check, “It was so kind of you.” “No,” she said, “I had to – I couldn’t just leave him to find his own way – his flight was already boarding.”


Bar fly 2 (A5 coloured pencil 2016)

This random act of kindness was inspiring. My own frustrations fell away witnessing her going the extra mile to help the man. After all, who knows why he was drinking alone in an airport bar? Perhaps he’d failed to close the sale that would save his job two weeks before Christmas; maybe his wife had left him for someone he once trusted.

Had this been a movie, the shadowy figure at the far end of the bar would have left her a $1,000 tip and slipped away quietly. But this was real life: the man made his flight thanks to the kindness of a stranger and Janila finished her shift and went home tired but, I hope, knowing that she was an angel of sorts.


39 thoughts on “An everyday angel

    • Thanks Kirk. It’s a very free, liberating technique. I simply drew the face with a thick child’s pencil – Ramy, I think – and then really scribbled with coloured pencils paying no regard to whether the colours were appropriate or not (except some blues for shadows). It was enormous fun and one I’ll try on a larger scale. Give it a go!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful observation of humanity, Michael. I remember a colleague flying not long ago to see a new boss. He was quite nervous; didn’t know if things would change work-wise. He found himself weeping on the flight. He felt foolish. His wife later reminded him that airline flights are often fraught with drama: traveling to and from tragedies and celebrations, pressure meetings, etc. His emotions were not exceptional; they were the rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fan of your drawings here! Such a lovely seasonal message….giving, especially of one’s time, is always its own reward. Broken people are everywhere, we don’t know who they are nor why they are broken until they make themselves obvious and helpless….or perhaps it was John Podesta?


  3. Pingback: Three Santas | A Certain Line

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s