The Practical Side of Being Fit

Last night, I was traveling back to my home in Colorado from the East coast and had an eye-opening experience, that demonstrated to me a very practical side of being fit.

I was making a connection in the Washington Dulles airport, with a very tight connecting flight, due to my previous flight being delayed 30 minutes. I was quickly making my way from gate A to gate D, and waiting for the inter-terminal train, when a woman who looked to be in her mid-30’s came down the escalator making some very strange noises.

The train arrived and we got on the same car, and from watching her, I observed that she apparently had been at the wrong gate for her flight to New York, and it looked like she would miss her flight. She was in quite a panic and a stir, and making sounds I would expect from a puppy and not a human. She was visibly upset and taxed by her rush to make her flight at gate D18.

The train had an intermediate stop at the B terminal, and I thought she was going to break down. The train arrived at the C concourse and the driver announced that the train was now out of service and that everyone must get off the train.  I was sort of confused by what I needed to do, but I looked around and figured out that the C and D concourses were connected and that I could walk. The woman, on the other hand shrieked in panic and disbelief. I helped her out and we both got off the train.

I had to stop at the men’s room, and when I was done, my friend had put quite a distance on me. I walked quickly, since I knew my connection would also be tight, and soon caught up to here. She was breathing like a freight train and she was weeping because she knew she would miss her flight. I tried to console her and suggested that she talk to a United agent, since this was the last flight to New York for the night, and my experience is that United is helpful in such situations in finding a place to stay. She was distraught, to say the least.

As we walked, over the loudspeaker came an announcement for final boarding for New York at gate D18. She lit up. I asked if I could help by carrying her bag and she said YES!  We began to run to the gate, but she quickly ran out of wind and had to walk. I kept encouraging her to keep going and that the gate was just a couple hundred feet away, but to no avail. She just could not do it.

I kept going, passing my own gate D11, in hopes that they would wait for her at D18. I’m not usually a good Samaritan kind of guy, but something told me that I needed to help this woman get home. I made it to D18 in time and they held the door open for her as she boarded, totally gassed. I suspect she slept well last night.

I then started running to D11 to catch my flight. As I ran, someone yelled to me, “where are you going,” trying to help me. I looked back at them and said, “I’m OK, I just like to run.” They laughed. When I got to D11, I found the flight just about ready to leave. I made the flight with little time to spare.

As I sat on the plane, I smiled, feeling good about what I had done. It then occurred to me that because I am fit, I not only was able to help someone in need, but I found it easy to deal with a trying situation. This incident has made me appreciate that being fit isn’t just good for my health, but is good for others and has practical benefits. I can just do more.

Next time you feel like working out or watching what you eat is a lower priority, think of this incident and realize that it’s not just about you. I hope this provides you a little additional motivation.

5 Responses to The Practical Side of Being Fit

  1. Aaron January 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Great Story.

    I once used a skateboard to catch my connecting flights in Dallas. The tile floor made lots of noise, but I made my flight with skateboard and pillow in hand.

  2. Scott Graham January 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Great job!!

    Sounds like you’re ready for marathon training. When you’re out in Boston, look me up and I take you out….

  3. Don Pratt January 19, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    I’m a runner (79 years old). I run 20-25 miles a week; I lift weights two days a week and I play
    golf three days a week. Three of my Friday afternoon golfing friends are in the nursing home. They never could understand why I ran and excercised. I don’t know if exercising is reason that I’m the only one not in a nursing home but why take a chance.

  4. maria January 19, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Awesome!! An excellent story

  5. francoise garnier January 19, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    Hi Don, well done! I would not expect anything less from you!
    I am not as fit you (who could be) nor as I could be (shame on me), but I know my relative “fitness” is critical to ensure that i can keep caring for my mother (who is 90 and has increasing dementia) as long as it make a difference to her quality of life, as well as run my off-line business and develop a new one on-line.
    Being stuck at home a lot of the time, I have to focus on “fitness at home”. Mother is my prime motivation, I owe it to her. I owe it to my clients too. I won’t be much help as a business coach if I am not fit. Without fitness how could I communicate energy, enthusiasm and focus!

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