The Monk with the Tiffany Blue Box


Hi there.

On Thursday I started a story about the Buddhist Monk that I encountered at the Phoenix airport on a flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles last Wednesday.

If you didn’t read the last blog it would probably be a good idea to take a look at it so you can get the total picture of this striking experience.

Before we dive into what happened at the airport in Los Angeles I have to let you know that the Tiffany blue box the Monk was holding on the plane has no bearing on the story.  Though it peaked my curiosity, he just held it during the flight and then tucked it away upon landing.

I put it in the title because it had a nice ring (no pun intended) to it.

OK, back to the monk and the Los Angeles airport.

Upon landing I quickly became consumed with the usual business traveler ritual.  While the plane approaches the gate we quickly prepare our plan for rapid exit from the plane.  As soon as the plane stops and the bell dings you unclick your seatbelt and stand to the aisle in one fluid motion.

You stand your ground, grab your items, and when the line gives way you waddle down the narrow aisle with the rest of the herd.

Once I got out of my seat and in the aisle I didn’t even think about the monk.  I was a man on a mission.

I thought I was making pretty good time through the concourse to baggage claim.  I was running the gauntlet of travelers in an especially skilled and stealth manner if I say so myself.

I got to the escalator to go down the baggage claim.  It was a long escalator that carried it’s human cargo smoothly down into the depths.

About two thirds down I noticed the usual line of limo drivers with their signs scribbled with the names of their ride to be.

But in the middle of the drivers I noticed a person that didn’t fit the surroundings.

There was a somewhat attractive, slightly plump middle aged woman.  She was a striking contrast to the black suited limo drivers.  She had an olive complexion, jet black hair and dressed completely in white.

Her wide grin and the expression on her face was joyous.  She stared straight up the escalator looking directly past me.  I turned to see who she was peering at… you guessed it… the monk.

First of all, I was kind of spooked because it was like he just appeared behind me.  There was no way any ordinary person could have kept up with my skilled maneuvering through the airport.  He must have been ninja monk.   But I digress.

She maintained eye contact with the monk behind me the entire journey down the escalator.

At the bottom of the escalator I quickly took a few steps and turned around to look.

When I turned to see what was going to happen I was taken back.  The scene was so foreign to the setting or our societal norms.

The woman was on her knees and she was bowed completely over from the waist with her face on the floor and her arms extended out on the carpet with her hands flat.

It was an amazing sight.  Here you had the hustle and bustle of baggage claim with all the families, travelers and limo drivers and there was a person bowing as low as one could get on carpet that collects millions of foot steps each year.

I don’t know who the monk was or the story of the woman.  I will never know.

But this is what struck me… this nicely dressed woman without the slightest hesitation, or with any qualms about her surroundings, took a position of complete servitude.

This screams the question, what do I love and care enough about where my surroundings do not restrict my actions?

How about you?

I think I will unpack this more on Thursday.

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