Bad airport surprise: Flight delayed two hours.
Good airport surprise: That day's New York Times stashed under your seat at the gate by some kind soul who passed through this purgatory before you.
I'm a big fan of the paying forward of newspapers, especially on various forms of transportation.
I'll leave random sections of the weekend paper on the subway. And, as that unknown person did for me at LaGuardia in June, I'll often stash my newspaper or magazine on a nearby seat at an airport gate for another lucky traveler. A man even asked for our leftover sections once as my husband and I waited for a plane in Detroit.
We were happy to oblige. Not only is a free newspaper much thriftier than buying an overpriced paperback, but you'll also feel smarter when you're done.
I get a little sad when I see airport employees throw out newspapers, but I know they're just doing their jobs to tidy the gate. In Columbus, I once saw someone confront an employee, saying she purposely left the newspaper for someone else to enjoy. It still went in the trash.
But to all of my fellow gate-litterers, I give you my sincere thanks. You have saved me from many hours of mind-numbing, gate-changing boredom.