I love to travel. Well, I love to explore new places, but the actual getting there part is not much fun.
I decided it was time to apply for TSA Pre✔️. It’s a straightforward process. You apply online, then you get an appointment time to go in for fingerprints and a background check.
Of course right now the Omaha office is technically closed. It “closed” August 1, but TSA is giving them until the end of September to find a new location. So there aren’t any appointments being scheduled after September 30th, and the appointments up to that point are almost impossible to get. So I was a walk-in. Here’s how that works. You arrive at the office, sign-in, and they try to work you in between the appointments that are scheduled every 10 minutes. If a scheduled appoint time arrives, they go ahead of you. It can be quite the wait.
I learned all of this the first time I stopped in. The mood in the waiting room was ugly. The tension was palpable. The woman working at the desk, frazzled and frustrated from a day full of cranky people, walked me through it. She also told me that the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes of the day have no scheduled appointments. Those are your best options.
The next week I tried again. I arrived 15 minutes before they opened. I was first in line. Looking good.
Then the next person arrived and got in line behind me. Then a father and daughter. She was wearing a Bennington sweatshirt. Then another woman. By the time the office opened, only one person works the first 30 minutes, there were 6 of us in line.
At first we were quiet. Then at one point the woman asked the girl in the sweatshirt if she went to Bennington. It started a conversation. Soon we were all talking. When the woman arrived to open the office, we were relaxed and friendly. We greeted her, and we acknowledged that her job has to be a challenge. There was a visible change in her demeanor. She softened.
We signed in, and it took about 10 minutes for the lone employee to get us all signed in and then go back and get her computer ready to start the day. I was first. In and out in 10 minutes. The man behind me got in and out. By then the appointments had started. I have no idea how long the other 4 people waited.
But I do know that the mood in the waiting room was different. I know that each person who came in felt something different than the people walking in the week before.
Attitude is contagious.
The 6 of us in line made a choice. We chose to be kind to each other. We chose to be kind to the woman who has what I can only imagine is a challenging job. We chose not to let the line, the inconvenience, the wait, define our attitude. We chose to be pleasant. We chose to be happy. And that attitude spread.
There will be times in our lives when we are not able to happy. There are for me. In those times, I hope we seek help.
But there are times every single day when we do have a choice. Choose to be happy. It’s contagious.