Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Airport

Hello Everyone!

I had such a fantastic time traveling to see my family yesterday, and I wanted to share a little bit of my adventure with you!

I flew into DFW International Airport around lunch time and had about a 2 hour layover. If you aren't familiar with DFW, it has 5 terminals; A, B, C, D, and E. Each terminal has 40 gates, and there is a tram that takes you from each terminal, and stops every 20 gates. I started at A1 and walked all the way to D40! (Taking the tram between each terminal, of course!). As I walked, I spotted men and women in uniform, thanked them for their service, wished them a Merry Christmas, and handed them a Christmas card.

You would truly be amazed at how shocked each and every one of our brave soldiers looked. While I was so happy that each of them would feel genuine gratitude from individuals around the country, I was also saddened at their shock. How many of them have never been stopped and thanked for their service? These men and women spend every single day sacrificing, more than we could ever imagine, just so we can enjoy the freedom we so often take for granted. Next time you see someone in uniform, take the time to thank them. It will be one of the best 30 seconds you spending doing something for someone else.

I passed out 71 cards, and have quite a few fun stories. I wanted take the time to share my favorites with you:

A group of soldiers were sitting in a circle, chatting, when I walked up to pass out cards. They watched me walk away and turn the corner before they started to open them up and read.  Coming back around the corner and watching all of them read their cards is an image I will always remember. I just wish I would have been fast enough to get my camera! I would have loved to share that with all of you!

One soldier was with his family, about to say goodbye. I handed him a card and his mom (I'm assuming) began to cry. "Thank you for what you're doing", she said. She then got up and gave me a huge hug. These are the connections I will never forget.

Another young man was sitting all alone at his gate. He was looking down at his lap when I approached him.
"Excuse me sir, I just wanted to thank you for your service and wish you very Merry Christmas. Travel Safely."
He whispered "Thank You" in a voice so soft I almost didn't hear him as I turned around to leave. I had walked 2 of the terminals already, so I stopped at a restuarant directly across from his gate to get a fountain drink. When I turned around, that young man was wiping away tears as he read his card; softly crying in a corner all alone.
Our soldiers have to be tough all of the time, how often do we think of them as anything other than brave warriors? I sat down at the restuarant and cried.

This is why I do what I do. Our service men and women NEED to know that the sacrifices they make are not in vain.
This was, by far, one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced. Next year, I plan to hop a cheap flight to DFW in the morning, hundreds of cards in tow, and spend the entire day passing them out.

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas! If you haven't done something for someone else this holiday season, please consider taking the time to do so.  We have been given so much; Please give back to someone who needs it more than yourself.

Remember the brave men and women who are far from their families this Christmas. They are the reason you have the freedom to celebrate with yours.

God Bless and Merry Christmas!

Ashley Hyde
Founder of The Art of Encouragement

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