I had a magical moment many years ago that’s stayed with me and made me really appreciate the joy that is travel. Whenever I feel I may have been blasé or dismissive - I use it to help myself get a grip !
Back in the mid 80’s I was a young holiday rep and quite regularly took coach parties on the ‘Paris-by-Night’ excursion. By then I’d been all over the place - by land, sea and air, totally spoilt, although I didn’t realise it at the time.
My magical moment came one balmy evening when the coach was parked up at the Palais de Chaillot (Golden statues etc etc), overlooking a resplendent, illuminated Eiffel Tower, the Jardins du Trocadéro , the Seine and the Champs de Mars beyond. Something I’d seen 100 times before.
Blow me down if one of my ‘older’ punters had stayed on the coach and not disembarked as instructed to buy loads of tourist trash from the hawkers outside! Bloody cheek - less commission for me !
I climbed back onto the coach to see the said lady of about 157 years old (it seemed to me at the time!!) and gently ‘encourage’ her to step outside to take a look at the Tour and of course some of the gorgeous souvenir (commissionable!) items for sale…
As I approached her I noticed the tears streaming down her face and immediately thought ‘oh heck, she’s ill, going to croak, lots of forms to fill in!’ - but no…when I asked her if she was ok she told me she couldn’t have been happier.
She told me a long, personal story but, essentially she’d waited her whole life to see the Eiffel Tower and wanted to keep the moment to herself. Just to sit there, looking out of the window - taking it all in. She’d lost her husband fairly recently and they’d always planned, but never achieved the trip to Paris together.
It was her moment but it had, and often has, a huge impact on my life - a magical moment. I started my flying career shortly afterwards and remembered my special lady in Paris every time I was lucky enough to see and experience something my passengers had saved and saved to see. I saw the Eiffel Tower differently after that night and it helped me see a whole new world.