A horizontal people conveyor at Philadelphia’s International Airport was voted Most Moving Sidewalk by the APA (Airline Passengers Association). This particular moving sidewalk is located in the lower concourse and has surprised many unwary riders by providing more than just a perfunctory ride from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4. Many unsuspecting passengers have boarded the moving sidewalk at one end composed and collected, only to find themselves a bawling heap of inconsolable emotion at the other end. Make no mistake about it: this is a very moving sidewalk. Airport surveillance video of this moving sidewalk shows that at about the 20 foot mark most people start to sniffle; by 60 feet they’re visibly weeping and by the time they arrive at the end of the line they’re clutching the handrail and crying, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.”
Many theories have been advanced as to why this sidewalk is so moving (besides the motor, of course). Some say it’s Philadelphia’s history of “brotherly love” that imbues the track with an overwhelming feeling of human fellowship. Others say it’s residual “Spirit of ’76” energy, whereby the sidewalk seems to be built over a whirlpool of patriotic fervor. Still others believe there’s some kind of emotional vortex permeating the interconnected treads. Even Dr. Phil was stumped when he was brought in to survey the situation, saying, “It is truly an ironic twist, that this flat, slow-speed sidewalk somehow offers a roller coaster of emotions – go figure.”
Whether it’s called “assistive transportation for the be-luggaged traveler” or a “lateral respite for lazy-ass bipeds”, this moving sidewalk transports you in more ways than one. Sensitive fliers find its treads unaccountably poignant. “They’re not just horizontal people movers,” said a choked-up Jessica Caffrey after de-sidewalking on her way to Spokane, “They’re a human conveyor belt to profound emotion. Again, I can’t say it enough – this isn’t just a moving sidewalk – it’s a moving sidewalk. Right about the 60 foot mark you come to understand just how fleeting life’s journey is. And when I’m riding it I can sense the poignancy of the moving sidewalk as a metaphor for life’s all too short journey. Some say one can get a similar feeling on a certain Planet Fitness treadmill in Austin, TX. And I tried it, but it’s just not the same – all I did was get a little misty at the 20 minute mark doing 3.5 mph at a 2° incline. I mean it was a moving treadmill. It just didn’t find it that moving.”
The APA voted overwhelmingly for this sidewalk. A moving sidewalk at the San Antonio airport finished second, but all it did was to cause people to remember the Alamo. The Philadelphia sidewalk on the other hand caused passengers to be swept up in an epic emotional drama. So much so that this Philadelphia Airport moving sidewalk is staffed with a warning sign at its entrance and grief counselors at its exit. The warning sign reads: If you’re carrying a lot of baggage (emotional or otherwise) please avoid this conveyance. The Dr. Phil trained grief counselors at the egress point offer tea & sympathy.
So while this moving sidewalk continues to baffle experts with its emotionally moving experience, reports have begun to circulate that some of Philadelphia Airport’s toilet seats are also providing moving experiences; which is good news for the constipated who are now flocking to these restrooms on the lower concourse near Terminal 4 to find relief. After the catharsis of the moving sidewalk to Terminal 4 and a stint in the purgative bathroom they emerge a reborn passenger without any baggage at all, except their carry on.