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美國的偉大 Why Does an Ordinary Chinese Woman Think America Is Great?

   My mother doesn’t speak any English, and she needed to travel alone from New York to San Fransisco to visit her student.
   母親一句英文都不會講,卻需要獨自一人從紐約飛到舊金山去看望她的學生。
   She was quite afraid of being “thrown” into an “alien world”, where she couldn’t communicate with anybody. What could she do if she encountered any problems? She wanted to ask me to go with her, but was reluctant to say so.
   她心裏其實一直很膽怯,卻又不好意思要求我陪她去,因爲她知道我今年已經沒有假了。
   I felt very guilty for not being able to go with her. So I called Alaska Airlines, with which my mother would be flying, and ordered a “special service” for her. I asked Alaska Airlines to provide escort service to my mother as she doesn’t speak English and would have difficulties finding the gate and the exit.


   我心裏其實也滿內疚。她臨行前,我打電話到航空公司,給她訂了個特殊服務,請航空公司派人護送她上下飛機。
   Yesterday I went to the airport with my mother. After I helped her to check in, Alaska Airlines soon sent over a young staff member to help my mother. I saw the staff leading my mother to the security checkpoint; and then left with confidence that things should be OK.
   昨天送她到機場,辦好登機手續,公司很快派了人來,我囑咐那位小姐請她將我母親送到登機口,目送她護著母親走過安檢處就回來了。
   Early this morning, my mother called with much excitement. She said, she had arrived without problems. Her flight arrived earlier than schedule yesterday, and the airport had her name displayed in very big letters in the billboard so that her student could see it as soon as he arrived.
   今天一早,母親興奮地打電話來,告訴我說,她順利到達了。因昨天飛機提前到了,接她的學生沒有來,航空公司把她的名字打成大大的字放到告示牌上,以便接她的學生能看見。
   She said, after they landed, a staff member, a young lady, got her sit in a wheelchair, and pushed her all the way to the exit. She stopped at the water fountain and restroom and asked my mother if she needed to drink water or visit the restroom (not in English, I guess with hand gestures. )
   母親還說,下飛機後,工作人員一直用輪椅推著她(其實她自己能走,只是不會講英文,怕自己找不到出機場的路。),遇到喝水的地方,停下來,問她要不要喝水;遇到洗手間,又停下來,問她要不要上廁所(當然一切都是手勢交流)。
   Then the staff waited together with my mother for a very long time until my mother’s student arrived. She even somehow managed to express to my mother that it was too cold outside, so she would like to wait together with my mother inside the airport.
   之後又推她到取行李的地方等,母親示意她沒有行李,工作人員就示意她,外面太冷,就在裏面等來接的人。
   由於飛機提前到了,所以等了很久才等來母親的學生,但工作人員一直很耐心,直到把我母親交給接機的人,才放心的走開。
   My mother said very emotionally, “ I was so moved! How nice they are! How patient! America IS Great indeed! I wanted so much to thank them, but it is a shame that I don’t speak English! Can you please give them a call and express to them my gratitude?”
   母親激動地說:「我真是太感動了!他們的服務真是太周到了!態度太好了!美國真是太偉大了!請你一定打電話替我感謝他們!」
   I was quite moved too, but managed to said to her calmly, “Mom, this kind of service is just everyday practice here. Nothing too special about it. There is no need to call. “
   我也被母親的情緒感染了,但還是很「鎮定」地對她說:「媽,這種級別的服務在美國不過是『標配』,不用專門打電話感謝的。」
   I knew why my mother was so moved and excited. She comes from China, where one usually cannot expect such kind of kindness and “special” service, unless you belong to the very small privileged circle.
   是的,我不會打電話,但還是想寫出這個經歷與大家分享,算是我的「另類」感謝信吧!
   Although I don’t feel like making a special phone call to express my mother’s gratitude, I feel like writing about it as my way of expressing our gratitude. I am a writer after all, am I not?
   對了,她這次坐的是Alaska公司的飛機。
   11/9/2019
(2019/11/09 发表)
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