An Unlikely Airport Connection.


I made a surprising connection during a moment like this.

Being recognized by an airport security guard generally means bad news, but for me today it was the start of a surprising connection.


The four hours of sleep last night,  my sweat from having run from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2-who knew that the United flight to Montreal checked in at the Air Canada Jazz counter-and my not yet having purchased a grande mocha frappuccino from Starbucks had me feeling, well, less than exuberant as I was walking through the security line.

Then the voice came.

“I remember you,” the female security guard said.  “You gave a presentation about racism in Chicago.”

The woman in question was a part-time Chicago Public Schools Special Education teacher/part-time security worker at O’Hare.  The workshop was a Facing History session I did about the Chicago Freedom Movement at the Irving Park library branch for a Facing History and Ourselves workshop about the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The presentation was based on a four-part series I did for The Chicago Reporter about Dr. King’s work in Chicago in the 60s and where the city stands now on many of the same issues.

Although I couldn’t see it, I’m pretty confident that my jaw opened pretty wide.

We had a brief chat about her work and the state of education in Chicago before I retrieved my computer, thanked her for greeting me and headed toward the Starbucks.

I didn’t really need the caffeine, though, as I had already received a jolt of energy from a highly unlikely source.

Of course, this came after the cab ride with a Christian Armenian refugee from Iran who speaks five languages and could be the subject of my project for the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.   It also came before I met fellow board members Miles Moffeit and Julia Lieblich in the airport.

But those are stories for future posts.

In short, the adventure has begun.


6 responses to “An Unlikely Airport Connection.

  1. Wow! An adventure indeed. Making unexpected connections is wonderful, especially when it is across boundaries not usually crossed, as happened with you at the airport. My closest recent experience was a call this week from a 27 year old former student. He is moving to South Carolina, and he has second interviews for two mental health worker jobs there like he’s had for several years in Boston. I was stunned that in the midst of this major life event he wanted to let his former sixth grade teacher know that he was taking care of business. We never know the impact we have. I hope that you have a most stimulating further adventure in Italy!

  2. a random person you’ve connected with just out there in the world…not so surprising, Jeff! Have a wonderful time!

  3. A meteor shower of good effects, Jeff — both from you and upon you! Wish I had seen your presentation about Dr. King’s work in Chicago and the Freedom Movement. Curious about where you serve with said “fellow board members.” Bon voyage. I love Montreal!

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Roxane, for your comment and good words. I am on the board of the Dart Society.

      Hope all is well with you.


  4. Acknowledgment from former students and people whom we’ve influenced is the best kind of energy charge, isn’t it. I’m sure this one was a good omen as you embark on your work in Orvieto.

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