November 21, 2012 by Jeff Hurt
I’ve been traveling a lot this month.
And that’s an understatement! I think I’ve been in the air more than I’ve been in my own home.
Air travel is usually such an inconvenience. It takes a lot of energy, time and patience to navigate the check-in process, TSA security and then get to the proper gate. Then you have to get on the plane, store your carry-on and try to get comfortable in a cramped chair. The entire process is very impersonal.
So imagine my surprise as I’ve watched a story of generosity unfold in an airport.
Mom, Dad and three kids under the age five had a family emergency and were trying to get to a dying relative before her final breath. The last flight out for that evening was already oversold except a few seats in first class.
The family explained their need to the gate attendant and that they had three tickets in three unassigned seats and needed to sit together. They planned on holding two 0f their children the entire trip. The gate attendant listened with great care and then graciously took the matter into her own hands. She made an announcement to the crowd that the flight was oversold and they were looking for five volunteers to give up their seats for a family in need.
I watched ten passengers, three from first class, volunteer to give up their seats for this family. Then two of the first class passengers pulled out their credit cards and paid for two more first class seats.
The crowd of watchers gasped and held their breath in astonishment. Then the tears started. No eye was left dry. I was teary eyed as well.
Suddenly the crowd erupted into applause to congratulate those that had given of their gifts. Then I watched several young men in the military fatigues carry their strollers and luggage down the ramp to be checked.
I saw the generous gift of passengers giving up their seats for a family in need. I saw the generous gift of free tickets as financially able passengers purchased two first class tickets for two toddlers. I saw the generous gift of time, help and assistance from an amazing crew. I saw the generous gift of labor from several young men in the military.
Generosity defies reason. It certainly collides with avarice, fear of want, and even normal consumer desires.
Generosity — true generosity, not charity based on tax benefits and calculations of gain — rarely makes sense. So much else could be done with that money or time.
Yet where would we be without the generosity of parents, partners, children, coworkers, employers, friends and sometimes total strangers? They see us through life passages, tough times and our own failings. There is no low so low that a generous hand cannot reach us. And when we fall from the heights, generous hands catch us.
As we share in this Thanksgiving season, we want to thank you for your generous offer of time and commitment to read, share and comment on out posts. We treasure your generosity. It is your generosity that we most want to emulate.
Thank you for reading, following and encouraging us to be better than we are. We are extremely grateful for you and your generosity.
Happy Thanksgiving and may you experience unexpected generosity this season.
Filed Under: Ramblings
Thanks for this wonderful story, Jeff. It made me a little teary-eyed too.
Your writing and all the myriad other ways you are generous with your knowledge and, yes, wisdom are among the things I am thankful for. Your generosity has come to be expected, since you give so freely and so often, but just because it has become familiar doesn’t mean I treasure it any less.
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story. It is a wonderful reminder of the beautiful and caring people that do not get their story shared often enough!
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Neat story. Thank you Jeff.
Never a better time to acknowledge the good in people instead of the grumps that command negative attention. Thanks for raising the bar, Jeff … AGAIN.
I, too, was touched by the story and am very happy you shared it. I love it when humans treat each other the way they want/should to be treated. Bravo!
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