I recently experienced a peculiar event on the last day of my time in Kauai.
I find myself relatively friendly and open, but when I'm at the airport, I throw on my noise-canceling headphones and enter my little world. I don't engage with anyone, and I keep to myself. On my last vacation day, I dropped my brother and parents off at the airport early because their flight was at 7:00 am, while mine wasn't until 10:30 pm. Meaning I had the whole day to myself. So I explored private beaches in solitude and drove around the island with the windows down and my music blaring. Lost in my thoughts, I began silently asking the universe to guide me meticulously in the new year.
When it was time to return to the airport, I did the responsible thing and arrived 2 hours before my flight. The only open restaurant to kill time at the tiny Kauai airport was packed to the brim with only one open seat at the bar.
Next to this open seat was this big, brawny gentleman with an excellent-sized beard peppered silver and black, a shaggy head of hair to match, and a thick southern accent. I could tell this guy was a few drinks in, but it seemed he could hold the attention of everyone around him without being belligerent. Not having my headphones on yet, I was an open target to be engaged with, so that's what this gentleman did. He introduced himself as Robbie and shared that he'd been alone on this island for two weeks. Robbie began sharing items he bought his loved ones while in Kuaui and how pricey they were. He mentioned that he was unsure why he spent thousands of dollars on these items because he knew the recipients would neither accept them nor want to see him.
I assured Robbie they were lovely gifts and that the recipients would appreciate the gesture. Upon my response, Robbie began sharing how depressed he'd been and hoped this trip would cheer him up. Robbie started to share some heavy subject matter and mentioned that no one gave him the time of day during his entire stay.
I listened intently and offered Robbie encouragement and affirmation that he has a larger purpose in life. I told him that God wants him here for a big reason, and God has a funny sense of humor. I told Robbie he has a loveable personality and his family is lucky to have him. Perhaps he just needed to tell his family how much he loved them.
Disclaimer: As I usually do before a long flight, I take a special gummy to help me relax. Because this was an extra long flight, I upped my dosage. The gummies were kicking in strong during my conversation with Robbie. I was blasting off to another dimension.**
When I had to leave to board my flight, Robbie asked if he could stay in touch with me, and he did something that I'd never experienced from a stranger before. He gave me the biggest bear hug outside of my family I'd ever experienced. It was the kind where you weren't sure if the person would let go. His eyes widened, and he said, "Thank you for listening to me. You're the first person in this whole trip who saw me as a person and listened to me talk. I appreciate that." I immediately felt a wave of comfort and empathy for this man.
Again, I DO NOT engage with anyone at the airport, so this experience felt very pressed. It was as if it was my late grandfather, who had a larger-than-life personality and who openly welcomed these kinds of engagements, working through me to be more open. Last year was an extremely tough year, but I do believe that it geared me up to be able to connect to people on a deeper level similar to this.
Perhaps this was the first of many to come.