The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Behaviour Dictates Behaviour …
August 15, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Emotion, Empathy

A few weeks back I was in Kansas, about to fly home.

While queuing at the customs line, I noticed a young woman in front of me in distress.

It was obvious she was more than just upset, this was someone feeling a great sense of fear.

I asked her if she was OK and she looked at me like she couldn’t compute what I was saying so I put my hand out to reassure her and she jumped back as if I was holding a gun.

Because of situations I’ve seen in the past, I realized she was very troubled so calmly told her that is she needed help, she could talk to a Police Officer or ask me to get one for her.

All this time, the people around us didn’t say a word.


It gets worse.

As she approached the customs official, he started asking her why she was upset. She obviously was too distressed to answer properly so then he started saying he won’t let her pass unless she calmed down … which, obviously then made her worse.

I’d seen enough and pointed out she was obviously scared and could do with some assistance rather than his aggressive behaviour.

He told me to mind my own business – literally – and then told the young lady to stand by the side because he won’t be letting her pass.

That’s where I kind of lost it.

I pointed out that surely he could be more sympathetic and instead of dismissing the lady, he could try to help.

Call for assistance.

Help check her paperwork.

Reassure her he wants to make sure she’s OK.

And what did he say to this?

He threatened to have me arrested.


Still no one in the queue said a word.

Not even a mutter of support.

At this point I was too far gone to back down – but thankfully, the spirit of my Father possessed me – because I calmly pointed out that if he arrested me, he’d be in a lot of trouble because I would have a chance to point out his bullying in a court of law.

He called for ‘back-up’.

Still no one in the queue intervened.

Fortunately his ‘back up’ was his boss who asked what the problem was.

He told him that I was being aggressive and ignoring his demands.

It was only when I pointed to the young lady on ths side of the queue – still sobbing deeply inside herself – and explained my actions were due to my concerns for the safety of a passenger I didn’t know that the senior officer took control.

He told me he needed me to go through customs so the line could keep moving and he would personally go help the girl.

He said I could be sure he would do this as there was a glass partition where I could witness him doing it.

And he was as true to his word.

But here’s the thing … had this senior officer not come in to sort things out, what would have happened to me and especially the young woman?

No one in the queue offered any assistance of any kind.

The original TSA officer didn’t show any sense of empathy to the poor lady.

Mental health is an issue that affects all of us … either because we suffer from it or we know someone who does.

The lack of empathy from the people in the queue astounds me.

Yes, I know it’s scary.

Yes, I know there are potential ramifications for getting involved in things.

But how can we expect others to look out for us when we don’t look out for them?

I’ve said it many times how important I regard empathy.

Looking at the World through someone else’s perspective and situation is the foundation of kindness and compassion.

We could do with more of that in the World.

I don’t know what happened to that lady, but I hope she is OK.

24 Comments so far
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Underneath it all, you’re a good guy. At least sometimes.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Rob

Well done on stepping in Robert. As your post highlights, few would do the same.

Comment by Lee Hill


Comment by Karmel Bagot

You’ve going to get so many opportunities to do this in the UK.

Comment by John

Funny that the first people tourists meet in the land of the free are immigration officers who make them feel anything but free.

Comment by DH

Good work Rob. Too many people think about their personal inconvenience before someone’s need.

Comment by DH

freedom if youre white. male. american. with a job and a house in fucking suburbia.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yep, the great irony is the land that talks about freedom is the one with one of the most oppressive immigration teams in the World. Great first impression.

Comment by Rob

Excellent work. You’re a properly good guy

Comment by Northern

Now, if you could just have a word with Theresa May over Brexit, Jon Wren over Media Arts and Simon Cowell over melving himself and the world will be a truly better place

Comment by Northern

after campbell hits england, brexit is the last fucking thing you need to worry about.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fair point. Thankfully his influence doesn’t stretch up North

Comment by Northern

My influence doesn’t even stretch to my son Northern. But I do hope this means you run out of excuses to finally meet up with me.

Comment by Rob

Nice to see your self awareness is still strong. Though your ability to accept people don’t want to meet you could still do with some work.

Comment by DH

I’ll even pay for the coffee

Comment by Northern

thats good because tight bastard campbell wont.

Comment by andy@cynic

To be fair, he did sort Queen tickets, even though it meant Rob paid for me to spend time with something I hate. My sister enjoyed even if I didn’t. Of course, I should have claimed to have hated Guns N Roses, or really expensive pink cycling shoes but you live and learn

Comment by Northern

some fuckers learn a lot more slowly than everyone else.

Comment by andy@cynic

it doesnt happen much campbell, but today i like you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Big hug to you for you doing the right thing.

Jemma xox

Comment by Jemma King

for once.

Comment by andy@cynic

I am proud of you Robert. Whatever this young lady was going through, she required compassion not intimidation.

Comment by Mary Bryant

This makes me so very angry (with him, and the people in the queue) and so very proud of you.

Comment by Marcus

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