Needs service.

Many of the flights in and out of Southern Missouri route through Atlanta. Even the ones that don’t make any sense. Like my recent roundtrip to Chicago.

Atlanta’s airport is a massive place. The busiest in the country, I’ve been told. While it’s fairly easy to navigate and there are plenty of T.G.I. Friday type dining establishments where a weary traveler can grab a beer, a few things get lost in the mix.

The men’s room near gate C4 at 5:20 PM last Sunday, for example. Insignificant in many ways, this particular moment in time was THE time that roughly 57 dudes had to go. Stalls locked down. Lines at urinals. Each sink occupied. I fell in with the rest and waited my turn. Business taken care of, I headed over to the sink to scrub away the germs of two trains, one plane and an airport. Rinse. Soap. Scrub. Rinse. Crap! No paper towels. I glance over and see that practically every dispenser is empty. I curiously walk to the end of the line and find a single sheet hanging from the special sink near the baby changing table. I grab it victoriously—only to turn around and discover that 56 other hand washers were standing by jealously watching me wipe my hands on what seemed to be the last paper towel in the Atlanta airport.

Hanging my head somewhat shamefully, I headed for the exit. On the way an older man looked at me and shook his head, “This restroom needs service.”

For a second, I considered offering him half of my paper towel. Then I tried to muster some words of wisdom, but all I came up with was, “Yep,” as I disappeared into the churning crowds of ATL on a Sunday.

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