A reader of this blog works with teenage refugees. Think about teenage refugees for a moment. Being a teenager is bad enough. Now imagine you're a teenager and you have to move and leave not only all your friends but your whole country. And you can hardly take anything with you, and you're leaving because you or your parents are persecuted or in an area destroyed by war or natural disaster. So you have to learn a new language, a new culture, and fit in to a new group at a time of life where people in their own culture are feeling like misfits, and you have to get on with the usual figuring out who and what you are going to be when you grow up, even though the rules of the game may be radically different from where you came from.
One of these young people expressed interest in becoming a pilot. Another kid in the group told him he couldn't be an airline pilot because his name and appearance was obviously Arab. My reader turned to me to find out whether this was a problem, and how he could find out more about what was required to meet this kid's goal. I answered from my own knowledge, but then remembered an airline pilot reader in that same city. I connected the two people, in the hopes that information and maybe some stickers and postcards would be exchanged, and felt happy to have maybe helped.
Then a couple of weeks later I received an e-mail that leaped into ALL CAPS in its inability to to contain the writer's squealing delight. The airline pilot had set up a full tour of the operations center and maintenance hangar, including a chance to sit in the cockpit of a CRJ. The young prospective pilot received inspiration, and his outreach worker says he now looks to his supervisor and coworkers like a genius who can set up any kind of job experience in a moment's notice. And I who just sent a couple of e-mails feel fantastic. It felt as good as a perfect squeaker landing with the owner and the chief pilot on board. It's as delicious as chocolate macaroons. Feeling good about helping others does appear to be something that is encoded in our psychology/physiology. Thank you to all involved for today's high. And it's non-fattening, too.