A note from Linda Newman: I had a great experience the other day on a flight from Chicago. The airport had been backed up most of the afternoon because of severe thunderstorms. When I finally boarded the flight I was cranky, but grateful to be on my way. As I settled into the center seat in the back row I heard a fair amount of complaining and distress about weather delays and missed connections - things that were completely out of anyone’s control. But in an instant, the generosity of one gentleman reminded me, and all those sitting nearby, that to be our best we should focus on what we can influence, not what we can’t.
The door had closed and as the flight attendants were preparing for departure, a distinguished, silver haired gentleman in a white shirt and tie, without his suit jacket, caring a double Scotch on the rocks approached with a flight attendant. He said to the person sitting directly in front of me, “Sir, there has been a change in your seat assignment, the stewardess will show you to seat 2D and I will be taking your seat.” The young uniformed Marine couldn’t have been more than 19 and wasn’t sure what was happening. He said, “Sir, thank you but I couldn’t take your seat” and the gentleman replied, “Son, I can no longer change places with you in the service of our country, so the least I can do to show my appreciation for your service and the sacrifices you make to protect my freedom is to give you my seat for these few hours.” Hearing that applause broke out and as the flight attendant helped remove his bag the Marine stood in the aisle and received High 5’s from every row as he walked to the front of the plane.
As we just celebrated July 4th, I thought this story would be good to share. I am grateful to have shared a flight with a kind and authentic gentleman who reminded me to seek opportunities to show appreciation to our service men and women and to never forget the high price that is paid to keep us free.