I have been a curious person all my life, even as a child. This explains why I chose this career. I could never pass up an opportunity to learn something new, meet new acquaintances or even visit new places. Normally, layovers bother me. Who wants to spend 6+ hours in the airport waiting for the next flight? However, I tend to focus on the bright side of things and automatically, my frown turns upside down.
On this perfect Tuesday evening, we landed in Chicago and the next flight was scheduled 6 hours away. I should be accustomed to my job by now, but I still find myself fatigued every now and then. Too tired to even go sightseeing. I promised myself that the next time I visit Chicago, I’d visit the great Chicago 360. The thought of being in a building that’s 1000 feet above ground tickles my fancy. Did you know that while on the 94th floor of Chicago 360, you can see up to four states and 55 miles out? Enjoying this view while fine dining is definitely on my bucket list.
As tired as I was, I just knew that the only option I had was to roam around the cafes and shops within the airport, but even that got boring. What better way to glide through the hours than hanging out at the bar? So I headed there. To my surprise, the place was packed. When I spotted an empty stool at the counter, I didn’t hesitate to take it. It’s was a strategic place to kill boredom by staring at the TV the entire time.
I am a social person and I just can’t help talking to strangers and making friends. An hour into sipping my flavored water, I noticed that the guy sitting next to me looked kind of tensed. A chat might do him some good I thought. “Hey man, I’m Barrington.” I casually introduced myself. To my surprise, he reached out to my stretched hand and gave it a firm handshake. “Nice to meet you, I’m George.” It seemed like he was open for a conversation, from anyone. Almost like he needed it. I told him I had a few hours to kill before getting back to work on the plane and that’s why I was stuck on that bar stool for more than an hour. “Oh, so you’re a flight attendant? You work in the plane?” I responded in the affirmative.
He told me that he works with Youngstown Barrel and Drum Co. This is something that I’ve never heard of before. Reminds me of the perks of this job. It allows me to meet totally different people who introduce me to things I’d probably never have known if I was stuck in my hometown. I guess he knew I was green in that field and quickly added “We sell plastic barrels among other things. “This left me, even more, perplexed, I mean, who really needs plastic barrels?
Further into our conversation, I learned that YBDCO manufacturers and supplies plastic drums for commercial and industrial purposes. The more he explained the more visual it got and I could tell that I had indeed seen the drums he was talking about severally. There are tons of these being moved in and out of our cargo section. I just never went deep into thought about them. The information that George was sharing with me was indeed very informative. I almost felt as if I was in class again. I had so many questions about the topic and he satisfactorily answered each one of them. Besides manufacturing and supplying plastic containers, they also deal with fiber drums, salvage drums, steel drums, pails and many more.
Although he opened up to me, I still sensed the stress and tension in his behavior in between our conversation. By now, I’d already considered him a friend so asking him about it didn’t seem so invasive. He told me that he’d just received news that his wife had gone in labor to deliver their frist child. Being miles away for business, this was stressful him. I knew that he needed to keep his mind occupied so I went on with the small talks even touching on some bits about my personal life. It was indeed working and I was glad that I could help out someone else.
A look at my watch showed that time was up. I felt like I had utilized my time better than I would have out sight seeing. It was a successful day. Chicago 360 is officially on my bucket list.