Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Invitation to 'Step Back From The Baggage Claim'

How about starting off the New Year with a wonderfully inspiring book titled, Step Back From The Baggage Claim? In this book, author Jason Barger uses different points in a journey, including the dreaded baggage claim, to highlight the inconsiderate behaviors and actions of passengers in airports throughout the country. He then uses these situations as reflection points to achieve greater self-awareness and then ultimately challenges readers to step back from the "metaphorical baggage claim in life."

In one example, Barger humorously writes about the human wall surrounding baggage claim; "Their knees are bent in an athletic stance, ready to pounce on the first bag that dares to look even slightly similar to their own. They do not budge an inch until they get their bags from the spot they earned." Meanwhile others resort to peeking through cracks in the "human wall of entitlement" in a frantic search for their bags lying on the conveyor belt.

What can we learn from this?

Even while the collective conscious around baggage claim may be anxious, frustrated and tired, there is an opportunity to step back and recognize the needs of others. Maybe it's the Mom with two kids running around who needs a bit of help pulling her bag off the conveyor belt. Or a couple just arriving on their honeymoon who just want to get away. Yield to others, help others, be the person in the crowd who takes a step back from baggage claim. It might even become contagious and inspire others to do the same.

Although the airport is a playground of opportunity to carry out these acts of kindness, it is just a starting point. Throughout the book, Barger provides examples on how people, in their everyday lives, have the capacity to step back from the baggage claim and change the world; it all starts at the airport.

Two thumbs up to this enjoyable read!

Visit for more information or to order a copy of this book. While there, read how the author spent seven straight days in airports throughout the United States and conducting roughly 10,000 minutes of observations of people's behaviors.

(Special thanks to Jason Barger for providing a copy of this book for review)