I was flying in uniform today. When I went through pre-check and walked out to my gate, a man spoke to me kindly.

“Thank you for your service,” he said.

“Thank you, sir.”

Moments later we were all boarded. The plane was full. Packed. The man at the Delta kiosk offered checked-in passengers $1,200 to take a flight twelve hours later.

When I boarded, I strained to fit my backpack into the overhead bin. This plane appeared smaller than the ones I normally fly. And the bins seemed smaller, too.

Finally I squeezed my black backpack into the overhead bin, grabbed my bottle of water and the novel I was completing, and took my seat.

I was seated near the rear in a window seat. I was speaking with a kind woman next to me who was flying with her two young daughters. The girls were clearly excited to fly but their mom was less spirited. I tried to cheer her up and make small talk while her girls took their seats across the narrow aisle.

Then the man who had earlier thanked me for my service stood up from his seat in first class. He pointed at me. He waved me forward, mouthing, “This seat’s for you,” and told me to come to his seat.

He came and took my little window seat in the back and insisted I take his large seat in first class. He would not accept my refusal. And I did not wish to cause a scene.

Because of him, I flew first class across the country.

When we arrived several hours later, I stayed on the plane until he exited. “Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it,” I said. I asked him if he was prior service.

“I’m not,” he said, “but my dad is a Marine. He died last year. But there are no former Marines,” he said.

“Yes, sir, I know,” I said and laughed. “Thank you, again.”

Despite the self-absorption and selfishness that tend to characterize most current things, kindness (often in quiet ways) abides.

I salute you, sir, and your dad, the Marine, for raising a generous and kind man.

One thought on “Generosity

  1. Yes Jon……That story does warm the “cockles of my heart”. Certainly, you were more comfortable on the long plane ride. But I’m betting the man received far greater joy for his unselfish action. You know, that’s the GOD works, isn’t it. The giver receives the joy, and GOD is glorified!

    Liked by 1 person

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