Yeah, I put my foot in my mouth in a major way the other day.
As luck would have it, I was sitting in the very last row of a huge plane on my delayed flight from Philly to Charlotte where I was to catch my connecting flight to Tulsa. The woman and young man sitting next to me were also on the same flight to Tulsa, but not being frequent fliers like myself, she was really upset that she might not make her connection. I kept assuring her that if we missed our flights, the worst case scenario was that the airline would get us onto a later flight, but this really didn't calm her down much.
Our connecting flight in Charlotte was already supposed to be boarding as our flight was landing, and of course it was literally as far from our current gate as you could possibly get, and so the poor woman next to me was just about in tears. I told her not to worry, that I knew the airport well, and I'd show her the way and make sure that she made it.
So there we are, me leading this woman and her son from one end of one of the United States busiest airports to the other, with me clearing the path for them and apologizing to people as we pretty much shoved our way past them. From time to time I kept asking her if she was all right, and I offered to carry one of her bags for her, but she refused (as most anyone would these days). She just kept telling me that she was fine and not to slow down, that she really had to get on that plane.
Well, we did indeed make it to the gate in time. In fact the joke was on us, because they hadn't even started boarding yet! As we were catching our breath, they kept thanking me, to the point that it was getting uncomfortable, so I tried to lighten the mood a little.
"So do y'all live in Tulsa?" I asked her.
"No, but we have family there."
"That's nice, OK is a pretty nice place I think. So just visiting huh?"
"Well, sort of. There has been a death." she said.
"I'm so sorry to hear that" I told her. She didn't seem terribly upset, so my dark sense of humor pushed me just a bit too far.
"Well, unless you didn't like the guy of course!" I added.
She just looked at me for a second.
"It was my son . . ."
Yep - hero to zero just that fast buddy . . .