Here is a story that will seem like the most fantastic fiction to most Americans. A couple of weeks ago Caleb and I were in the city of Albany on the beautiful southwest corner of Australia. We were there to visit Hawthorn House, a truly exceptional example of person-centeredness in the lives of people living with dementia and their families.
After a Friday afternoon holiday Barbie on the lawn we rushed to the airport to begin the long trip home.
Albany (Western Australia) to Perth
Perth to Sydney
Sydney to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Detroit
Detroit to Home
This story is about the first leg of that journey. When we walked into the airport at Albany and the (yes I mean singular) the gate attendant said, “Dr. Thomas? Great! Any bags? No? Ok then, welcome aboard.” We walked out the door across the tarmac and climbed onto the plane.
He knew our names.
No nude body scans.
No enhanced pat downs.
On board, we loaded our carry ons into the overhead bins. Among the items we stowed there were two small gifts and a card from our friends at Hawthorn House. When we arrived home I was saddened to discover that the gifts and the card were no longer among our possessions. A few days later, Diane received an email from Elizabeth Barnes at Hawthorn House. It read…
I understand that Bill left a book on the plane and the airport have sent it to our head office so that we can return it to him. Could you send me a postal address so we can send these things to him?
This really rocks the American mind. The airline welcomed us to our flight, delivered us to Perth, cleaned the plane, found our lost items, got ahold of Elizabeth and saw to it that our lost items were returned to us.
Australia really is my kind of country.