Strangers always talk to us when we are traveling and usually they just want to ask "Are you guys sisters??"
But sometimes it's more complex than that. It's like strange people just find us and sometimes it gets awkward. Like a few weeks ago in the Atlanta airport....
We had just landed after a 16.5 hour flight. We had been in Africa for 10 days and we were...exhausted, un-fresh, and we may have both had a little bit of an ambien hangover from the flight. Either way, we just wanted to get some coffee (Coffee Bean in the ATL, hallelujah) and some American breakfast. We had barely had any time to process our trip so we were looking forward to just sitting at a restaurant and re-hashing it all.
We found a TGI Fridays (it was the best we could do) and waited while the hostess went to clean off a table for us. While we were waiting, this dude walks in. He was about our age, wearing a cowboy hat and looked a little bit lost.
He went over to the bar then came back to the line and looked right at us.
"Hey guys, could I ask you a question?"
NO WE'RE NOT SISTERS. (We didn't say it but we were both thinking it.)
"Yeah what's up?"
"Could I sit with you guys and eat breakfast? I don't know anyone or have any friends here and I just don't want to really sit alone."
Pause. Let's give you a little idea of our personalities here. This is my (Jill) worst nightmare. Introvert central, stranger danger. Kate is the one who is all about new friends and new people. If one of us was going to say yes to this dude, it was gonna be Kate.
Kate was so tired and over it. She just wasn't up for it. She didn't say it, but she was feeling it big time.
Meeeee on the other hand...I was feeling this sort of compassion for the world after the trip to Africa. The election had happened while we were gone and the world seemed like it needed a lot more love, so without REALLY thinking about it, I responded to the dude.
Kate gave me the stare of death. A million stares of death. And to be honest, I knew right away it was a bad idea. But remember: exhaustion, Africa high, Ambien hangover. The combination is frightening.
So dude sits down with us. He says we are the Angels he's been praying for. Not sure if that was a line or what. But the waitress comes over to the table and he asks her about beer specials. It's 7:00am. No judgement, but a tiny red flag went up. There were no beer specials so he ordered a mimosa.
Then he just started to spill. Verbal diarrhea. He told us he was on his way to Florida. He had been on a flight last night but he got handcuffed and escorted off the plane by cops. 😳
"Could we believe that?" All he had done was ask for a beer and some peanuts. They thought he was being hostile.
So he went to a hotel for the night. But he got kicked out of there too.
So now, he was on his way to Florida with no phone and hardly any money and his plan was to "sleep on the beach for a few nights."
RED FLAGS SURROUNDING US NOW.
I had obviously made a huge mistake and now here we were, stuck in a booth across from this dude who was probably, we realized now, still drunk from last night and who we were *probably* going to buy breakfast for. Smooth move, guy, smooth move.
I, hoping to avoid conflict, figured we just had to suck it up and ask for the check and go find breakfast somewhere else. At this point, I was a little afraid of the stability of this guy and didn't want to upset him.
Kate, however, has no fear of conflict. She also had about zero time for this dude at this point...with good reason. I had put us in this awkward position and it kept getting weirder.
So Kate, in the way that only Kate can, leaned across the booth, looked dude in the face and said very gently and with great ease:
"Can I make a request?"
He seemed stoked.
"Would you go ahead and leave our booth and go sit somewhere else?"
He sunk a little but was agreeable about it. So it seemed. He agreed to leave but then said, "Just let me look at the menu for a minute."
"You know what? You can take the menu with you. We know what we're getting. So go ahead," said Kate.
SHE HAD ZERO TIME FOR IT. It was kind of amazing to watch. She was a conversational wizard.
He finally got up verrrrry slowly and I think he kept thinking I would say, "Hey, actually sit down! It's fine!"
But wanna know what I did? I sat there frozen the whole time. I was totally useless. Haha. If it weren't for Kate standing up for what she wanted, I'd probably be on my way to Florida buying this dude food and drinks and a place to stay because I'm a SUCKER.
And ya know what? It bummed me out because I sort of took a chance and tried to be kind to someone who I normally would just ignore or say no to...because of my shyness...but I took a chance. And it ROYALLY went wrong.
I mean, it all worked out, as in, we weren't robbed or kicked out of the airport with the dude or anything, but it sort of ruined our breakfast that we'd been excited about. But sometimes, it happens. You take a chance and it doesn't go how you hope it will. And that's ok.
We hope this dude is ok and wish him all the best, but if we ever see him again, we are RUNNING the other way to Applebee's or Chili's or anywhere but TGI FRIDAYS.
You win some you lose some.
Now...more pics of you awesome people!