She was bawling. Bags in hand, this seemingly youthful 20-something-year-old passed through a crowd of on-lookers, stealing their attention as she stomped through aimlessly angry and visibly upset.
The airport security guard and I caught a glimpse of one another, wondering what we ought to do to help (as many San Diegans tend to do). But he had to remain stationary at his post.
After trying to assess her situation and determining I could not infer any queues from her, I simply asked. Her flight had been changed. This small framed little girl was now sitting down in the waiting area in front of the United Airlines check-in counter, waiting (as instructed) for an airport authority to help get matters settled regarding her flight. She looked up at me with her mascara stained cheek and began to talk.
She poured out the inconveniences of having no money, being so far away from the mid-west--and more importantly, it seemed, no cigarettes. I left my wallet that day so I couldn't help her monetarily. But someone had "moved her cheese." And I was the perfect overly friendly stranger to find a way to point it out while still trying to be sympathetic.
"I'm sorry you don't have any money for cigarettes but San Diego is the best place to be broke and find something to do," I said.
I realized I caught her attention but at the moment, that was all. I directed her to the information booth where she would inevitably be surrounded by pamphlets about the boardwalk, the pier, the parks and other activities as well.
But rarely do we find writings about the friendly people in San Diego. It doesn't have to be at an information booth. A lot of San Diegans tend to be friendly folk. Even when they say, "No, I can't help," it is often done in such a polite manner.
I have to admit though, sometimes I can scare people off. Maybe I shouldn't have offered her a prayer and a hug. Que sera. I knew she'd be OK.