Motivation from airport angels

This was my last week before the looming surgery. Despite what everyone says, I can’t help but stress over the idea of getting things at work line up for me to be gone for so long, getting the house ready for company to live in next week while we are gone, and getting our family prepared for me being out of commission. Throw in Race for the Cure, Halloween and soccer practices…well, it was a busy week.

But I’m not saying that to complain. What I realized is that all of this busy-ness has kept me very distracted. I haven’t focused on the scary stuff that comes with surgery. Until yesterday.

When I officially “clocked out” from work on Thursday, I put my main focus on pre-op appointments, whether the doctor has gotten insurance pre-authorization for surgery and, well, surgery itself.

It’s getting real!

So, sitting in the OKC airport, reality set in. My mood wasn’t too great — weight in my stomach … shoulders so tight they might as well be in my ears.

Our flight got delayed to Dallas, and a super-friendly American Airlines rep, Debbie, called my cell to let me know that she would be picking us up at the gate in a cart to drive us to the connecting flight. There was a chance we wouldn’t make it so she had already booked us on the later flight. (insert major plug for American Airlines Priority program — because how awesome is that service?!?!)

I felt antsy the whole plane ride to Dallas. Just in a bad mood, really. I came off the plane looking for Debbie. The first thing I saw was a man holding the sign with my name. I figured Debbie got busy and sent someone inย her place. But as I got closer, I noticed that this man had theย #TeamJenny logo that my KochComm peeps designed. Whaaa??? As I approached him, I realized that he was not alone. There were two other men and a little kid … and Debbie!

Turns out that Will, that extremely generous guy I mentioned in the last post who arranged for me to get a free trip to Houston, is actively involved with a group of executive platinum fliers, including these guys. So, these guys, who don’t know me at all, took the time out of their day to meet us at our gate with personalized signs.

They are our newest friends and team members — Ray, David, Richard and Ian.

They had planned on hanging out with us at the Admiral’s Club, but since we were running so late, they climbed aboard the cart that Debbie drove and escorted us to the next gate.

They even applauded as we boarded the plane.

You know, I’ve always been skeptical of the home-field advantage in sports. How could having the crowd cheering make that much of a difference? But, I’ll tell you … having a welcoming committee cheering you on as you board … well, that was pretty awesome.

I’m pretty sure that I was grinning ear-to-ear for most of our connecting flight into Houston. That, and shaking my head, saying, “I just can’t believe that!”

I can’t believe that Will (and his cohort, Becki) arranged all of that for me. I can’t believe that three strangers (plus a cute little boy) took the time out of their day to do it.

This cancer thing really sucks. Seriously sucks in so many ways. But, every single time I turn around, someone is doing something so thoughtful, so helpful and so selfless. You make it hard to be sad or mad. You make it impossible to have a pity party for too long. You make us realize that even though bad things happen, good people are there to help you through it — which is how I think God intends things to be. And, we are really grateful to be completely surrounded by good people in our lives.

I guess what I’m saying is that you guys are making kicking cancer’s butt a whole lot easier.

PS – I did learn a valuable lesson during all of this: even if you are going to a city where you won’t see anyone you know…wear makeup. You never know when you’ll take a photo in a golf cart in an elevator in an airport.

27 thoughts on “Motivation from airport angels

  1. What a wonderful way to travel, cheering section and all. So glad you are making new friends to help you along the way.

    P.S. Who needs make up with a smile like that?

  2. Jenny –

    While I wasn’t in Dallas waiting for you to arrive, I was eagerly awaiting (along with several hundred others!) updates on your journey on the Executive Platinum Facebook page that David, Ray, Ian, and Richard represent. I’m glad that everything went off without a hitch and you were able to make your flight to Houston. Please know that you have so many people in your corner cheering for you and wishing you all the best, even if you’ve never met them!

    Best wishes from a stranger in Chicago,


  3. Jenny,

    My name is Neal and I am a proud member of the Executive Platinum Facebook group that Richard, David, Ray and Will are all members of. Thanks to that group I am lucky to consider each of them friends.

    You said yourself that there is no time for a pity party, but I hope that there is time for an ice cream party. Please let me know when would be a good time to send you a six-pack of inconceivably delicious organic ice cream from my company, Three Twins Ice Cream.

    Our entire Facebook group is sending your good thoughts and looking forward to celebrating your clean bill of health down the road.

    My best,

  4. Saw all the good thoughts from the AA Exec Plat group and happy to hear your travels went well. Now best wishes for a speedy recovery! You can beat this thing!

  5. Jenny, I’ve only known the Executive Platinum group that helped you for a little while, but I’m here to say that they are a FINE example for us all and are a reason to rejuvenate any goodwill feelings towards the human race!!

    I’m sorry that you are having to deal with such an awful beast, but I’m glad to see how many people are with you to help fight it.

    You don’t know me, but no matter. Just know that there are many people out here rooting for people like you. Now, focus on getting well and BEAT THAT BEAST!

  6. Hi Jenny! I was one of the many watching your journey yesterday through the eyes of our fellow AA flyers! I know I speak for many when I say we all wish you the best and we are praying for you and your family! Having had several friends go through what you are facing….I know from them that loving family and friends and a super positive attitude is the best medicine! Wishing you nothing but the best…
    Blessings and prayers from one of your new super supporters!
    PS. We also think those guys–Richard, Ray, David and little Ian– are pretty special.

  7. Jenny, We are thinking and praying for you and your family. It is so nice to have such wonderful friends and family to help out. Love Corene and Dan

  8. You don’t know me either, Jenny, but am a member of that same AA Executive Platinum Group, yet based on the other side of the planet, in London. Thoughts and prayers are with you & your family from across the pond. You do not face this alone.

  9. Hi sweetie! So glad to hear that Team Jenny has spread. It’s so good to know that there are such wonderful people out there that are taking such good care of you, when we can’t be there. Love you and sending only good vibes Jen.

  10. Jenny…. I too am in the AA Exec Platinum group and was watching the story unfold. What Will, Becki, David, Ray, Richard and Ian did was AAwesome and if I were close enough, I would have been there right along with them – and you. I am certain that many of us have been touched in some way with cancer messing around with someone in our circle of friends or family. Make you a deal… you keep up the positive thoughts and prayers and we will too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Jenny,
    Wishing you the very best and my family will be sending positive, healing vibes your way. You have a whole of fan club behind you now…. (has someone told her we are coming to her house for Thanksgiving yet? … kidding).

  12. Jenny,

    I’m really happy that we were able to add a little happiness to the stress of the day. I have to admit, having Ian there was strategic. I mean seriously, who doesn’t love that kid? In the crush of the moment we didn’t have a chance to talk. What you don’t know about me is that I’m a cancer survivor myself and I understand your fears and the burden of the unknown. If there is anything we can do to help in the future, please let me know. My wife is also a board member of a wonderful cancer support organization here in Dallas. I will check if they have an affiliate in Houston and get in touch in the near future.


    Richard Hartman

  13. I have to say that the support and messages from the members of the AA Executive Platinum Group have left me in tears and renewed my faith in humanity. At a time when our country seems so divided, it is wonderful to be reminded that wonderful, giving, kind, caring people do actually exist and would be so amazing to our friend Jenny without even knowing her. Thank you for all that you do and for reminding me today that angels really do exist.

  14. Jenny/Alan,

    So glad to hear you had help on the journey. Lots more coming your way, and hoping to add many more miles to your account(s). My travel buddies are gathering miles to give, and hotel points as well.

    Also want to let you know that while in Dallas this week, the Hyatt Regency was hosting a Susan G. Koman 3-Days for the cure. All of the folks there were walking 60 miles in 3 days, each with a story. Many of them asked me to pass on that they were “walking for #TeamJenny”! Wonderful outpouring of love and good wishes! A huge ‘shout out’ to my new peeps in Dallas this weekend as they walk to get rid of cancer once and for all…

    You focus on kicking cancer’s butt, your friends and family will take care of the rest. Go #TeamJenny!!

  15. Jenny, just read this post and replies while on the bus ride home from work and started crying in amazement of all that compassion from strangers. How beautiful!
    Thinking of you!

  16. I will be thinking of and praying for y’all tomorrow and in the days to come. Glad you had “angels on your wings” for the journey, to quote part of what someone described to me long ago. If I can help out here, let me know.

  17. Prayers are answered, as I’ve just heard the good report of your completed surgery. The world is a big place but your corner is filled to the brim with people rooting for you!

  18. Jenny, hoping everything is going well. Everyone continues to pray and send positive vibes your way. Our AA FB group is extremely proud to support and be part of #TeamJenny. Thank you for inspiring us all ๐Ÿ™‚

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