I woke early in my airport hotel bed, then went looking for coffee. Two women were sleeping in chairs near the elevator on my floor, as were many people downstairs in the lobby adjoining the airport concourse. I later learned the airport had sold out, so these thirty or so people were making do with an uncomfortable night.

After a trip to Starbucks across the way, I settling in to a free lobby chair to drink coffee and play with my well-traveled XO. The women who were sleeping on my floor sat across from me. One of them said, “Did you steal that from a kid?” (her tone was light, not accusatory.) I went into the story of my two weeks, with both women asking questions in a “boy-did-I-have-a-rough-night” sort of way. They were pleasant, friendly, and interested. Clearly though, I was back in the States.

Like so many Americans, these women had no conceptual frame of reference for the conditions I had just come from. Just ninety minutes by air from where we sat, Haiti belies description. My words and photos fall short of simply sitting and watching as you drive through Port-au-Prince. The many tiny contrasts I experienced as I traveled home to Pennsylvania .. shiny surfaces, orderly rows of parked cars, garbage cans everywhere, running water, people waiting for you to turn .. these tiny unnoticed luxuries are arrayed in such a dizzying abundance that words fail.

As I waited on line in security, a situation developed where one line was shorter than the other. The TSA rep called several people from the back of my line to the front of the next. I stood silently while two people complained bitterly behind me. “It’s just not fair, they should do this and that”, etc, etc. So small a thing, an extra five minutes, to ruin your mood and those around you as well.


We Americans are selfish, entitled, crybabies whining that our food is cold when around us millions have nothing. If there’s one thing I hope to hold from my recent trip to Haiti, it’s this: Gratitude for the many, many, gifts we are each given. Each walk through the mall, each drive to work, each TV show, each meal, we are each bathed in indulgences of a kingly proportion.

Later, dining with my wonderful daughter Isabel at the Hotel Bethlehem while we waited for her mom to finish a concert, I mentioned to our server that I had just returned from Haiti and was looking forward to my Hotel B Burger. She mentioned that she was a figure skater and had performed in Haiti with the Disney on Ice Tour. I’m pretty sure she mistook Haiti for another Caribbean island, but I still love the idea of Disney on Ice performing for the children of Haiti, providing Disney brings their own electricity to freeze the floor and light the hall. Most would roll their eyes at such a thought, but the truth is … the children of Haiti would absolutely love the show. I can see them watch it now.

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