How Business Travelers Can Support The Troops

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Really happy to write that the Iraq war is drawing to a close. Yes, I know there are still troops over there because I see them coming and going via RDU — one of the closest major airports to Fort Bragg.

Here are some ways in which business travelers can exert very little effort and still support the returning troops.

  1. Let a uniformed member of the military go ahead of you in the TSA line. I know you’re in a rush. I bet someone else is in a rush to make his flight and see his children, too.
  2. Give up your first class upgrade. I learned this tip from a good friend of mine. Ask the gate agent to help you identify someone for your upgrade. These men and women have been traveling for hours. You can sit in the back with the riff raff while someone who puts his life on the line gets a little extra legroom.
  3. Buy lunch for a service member eating at Chili’s or one of those airport restaurants. Super simple to flag down a waitress and buy the meal. Nobody needs to know.
  4. Pay for the overpriced bottle of water/gum/magazine. When you see a uniformed member of the military buying a bag of pretzels, step in and buy it.
  5. Say hi and ask where someone is headed. In short, don’t stare. Engage. I struck up a conversation with a young man headed to Miami for a little R&R. We didn’t talk about his tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan (although he briefly mentioned them) but we did talk about his favorite restaurants and clubs. I learned a little about Miami and he got to talk about something other than his military service.

As you bolt through the airport to make one last meeting in 2011, keep an eye out for a returning (or departing) military service person. Then do something nice for that individual. Nobody needs to know about it but it will sure make your day.

I promise.

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