The cliché is, you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat a dog. I guess it’s a cliché because it is fundamentally true.
A long layover in the L.A. airport was softened a bit by the show outside our window in the Alaska Airlines Board Room: planes taxiing in and out, the hustle and bustle of airport doings from refueling to baggage loading. That’s where it happened.
A tug pulling a baggage cart parked alongside a jet, plastic dog crate the only cargo. The loading crew all seemed to find a reason to saunter past, pausing to stoop down and give the pup a greeting. Eventually, the entire blue-clad squad had gathered enmasse at the box, including a massive crew member who could have been a sumo wrestler in his free time.
And that’s when it happened: the hulk of a man, who could load the passengers single-handedly let alone suitcases, squatted like a new father, supplicating in front of the kennel. He made goo-goo eyes and offered a finger through the mesh door for a doggy kiss, a finger that was so thick it wouldn’t go farther in than the first knuckle. He gently picked up the crate, and carrying it like a Ming vase placed it lovingly in the hold.
I couldn’t hear a thing through the thick glass and I doubt the dog could on the busy ramp. But that mountain of a man said something to that dog in what was probably a gentle, comforting voice as he bade the pup farewell. I think we both felt better, ready for our journeys.