Our flight to Shanghai began with a stopover in Atlanta. Due to unusually long lines, we were running so late that after being whisked through the second half of the ticket line, as well as the security check, we still managed to come huffing and puffing just in time to come face to facer with an important looking personage guarding the closed gate.

A quick inquiry revealed that we had misheard the announcement and that our flight didn't even start boarding yet. Good? Bad, because we had a squeaky tight connection waiting for us in Atlanta. You can imagine that we were on Shpilkes (antsy pants) the entire flight. It didn't help when the pilot got on the PA and announced in his soothing voice that we were expected to land in Atlanta at 10:10am, 15 minutes after our flight to china was supposed to have taken off.

G‑d helped and we landed earlier then expected - 5 minutes before the flight to Shanghai was due to depart. We asked the flight attendant to ask everyone to let us off first and we started running like Meshugoyim (crazy people) from one end of the airport to the other. We got to the gate breathless, and were greeted by two smiling Chinese flight attendants, who notified us that the whole plane was waiting for us – Our first experience with Oriental hospitality.

Thus began our 15 hour flight.

Now this is where it gets interesting. About an hour into the flight a man came over to us and introduced himself. It turned out he's a Jewish son of Holocaust survivors who had settled in Alabama. He grew up knowing very little about Judaism. He told us that when he saw us being ushered onto the plane he was really happy to have our captive attention for the next fifteen hours. Obviously, we were very happy to meet him as well and immediately did what every Lubavitcher worth his salt would do – we offered to help him put on Tefillin. I plopped my Yarmulke on his head and started to wrap him up for the first time since his Bar Mitzvah 50 years ago. Afterward, he tearfully asked if he could keep my kippah. He wore it for the rest of the flight and onto his taxi in Shanghai.

After landing in China, we hugged emotionally and went our separate ways.

This story taught me two lessons:

A. You never know why certain things happen. I mean we were very annoyed that the delay in our flight caused us to run around the airport like nuts. But if we would have come to the gate on time and boarded with everyone else, who knows if this man would have seen us?

B. Always bring along a spare Yarmulke.

Yechiel Kalmenson for my co-rover Shmulik Glitzenshtein, who types better in Hebrew