Stories are Everywhere

As I left the plane behind me last night, I paused near the waiting area as an anxious family rushed forward. A caucasian couple a few years older than me, trailed by two teenagers and two little girls around six or seven years old, moved as one unit, then stopped a few feet away.

What made me pause is the little girls were Asian and were dressed in traditional (what I’m going to guess* were) Korean costumes and the person they approached was a nervous Asian teenager.

The adults smiled cautiously, then said her name. Hesitantly. Uncertainly.

I couldn’t help but stop and wait for her reply.

She smiled, looked down, then said yes.

They moved closer, excitement rippling through all of them, but especially the little girls. Their dresses — one pink, one red — stood out among the t-shirts and jeans most Midwesterners wear, but they were too intrigued by this newcomer to notice anyone looking.

At this point I gave them one last smile then continued on my way, but I couldn’t help wondering what I’d just witnessed. Was the teenager an exchange student? A relative of the girls? An orphan in need of a home?

Most likely she’s an exchange student, but I couldn’t help but imagine all the different scenarios that could have landed her on my plane and in my town.

Where have you seen stories lately?

*I lived with several Korean girls in high school and from what I learned then, I would guess this group was Korean.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. WendycinNYC

    Nice story. I like to wonder about random strangers as well–it sometimes sparks story ideas. NYC gives me no shortage of opportunities.

  2. JLC

    Now I am totally curious!! I love people watching! I think most writers do. πŸ™‚

    Many of my stories come out of ‘what if’ moments I get.

    Great post!

  3. Lisa Dovichi


    I’m a total people watcher too. I try to avoid staring but sometimes it happens. I’m sure the stories I invent for them in my head aren’t true (that’s my hope anyways — I have a wacky imagination).

    My first thought was like Jason’s — Human trafficking — but he beat me to it! LOL

  4. I’m always people watching . . . I love seeing the body language between couples–the couples that don’t even talk anymore while out for dinner, or the ones that still hold hands. My parents are married 47 years . . . they still hold hands. πŸ™‚

    • I like noticing that too. I can’t remember if I first thought of that from a movie or what (maybe it was your blog…) but I appreciate the comfort some people have with each other. If only we can all have that.

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