For someone who is married to a guy who works in the airline industry and is offered the benefits that come hence, I am just someone who doesn’t really love traveling. Oh, I love to go places, and my list grows daily of the experiences I long to have in far off exotic lands, but the actual “traveling” part, not so much. My mode of transportation these days would really look more of something like this:
With that scenario, not likely to ever be, I am left to ponder a different perspective when it comes time to travel; a seized opportunity and the rewards that come with it.
I was privileged to have such an experience just yesterday. I had spent three days in California; a last minute invitation for an event (with a dear friend) I did not want to miss out on and the prospect of some time spent with my sweet cousin. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there but when the time came to fly back home, I prepared myself and set out on what was to be a very long day of travel. Those benefits I mentioned? They do have limitations, one of them being that I fly standby and am at the mercy of the flights that have a space for me to occupy. This particular day it involved flying from Los Angeles to Texas, then onto Florida and finally home to New York; a total 12 hours travel time. Translation: I faced a long day doing something I don’t particularly enjoy doing.
But here’s the thing:
I have actually learned that with a shift in my perspective, there is opportunity to be found in such a day. Yesterday proved that to me. I decided, since I was in it for the long haul, I was going to use that time to look for opportunities to commit random acts of kindness and spread the love. It’s been a personal goal of mine and my sweet Livy has inspired me so much, as of late, with her own random acts of kindness.*
~Before I even boarded a plane, I vowed to smile at every single person I came in contact with; a way to spread a little joy that might sustain them on their travel day.
~On the first leg of my trip, I was able to help the woman next to me when they spilled their drink; jumping up to run to the back of the plane to get paper towels, assuring her it would all be okay. She was from another country and though I feel there may have been a little bit of a language barrier, that simple act of kindness was understood and appreciated. She thanked me once again as she left the plane.
~From there, we had a stop-over in Texas where some departed the plane and others boarded. The cool part about this is if you didn’t get a good seat the first time around, you are free to pick a better one. I moved closer to the front. But then something happened. Among those boarding the plane later was a young family with a toddler and lap child. I worried that as they made their way to the back they might not be able to find seats together and so quickly spoke up and offered to move so that they could be together. They seemed flustered at first but accepted. I don’t believe I ever really got a proper thank you but I found I didn’t even need it. From where I now sat, I could still see them and their being together laughing and interacting and able to help one another was totally a reward in and of itself.
~In my new seat location, I found myself next to a single mom and her son. I gathered that they were excited but a bit nervous to be traveling as they were on their way to begin a new life in a new place. I was once that little boy with my mom. I know how tough life can be for a single parent and I know the challenges you face as the only child of a single parent. I could see that Mom was clearly exhausted and within minutes, drifted off next to me. The little boy remained awake and somewhat squirmy. When the flight attendant came through to offer a drink, I could tell the little boy was clearly in want and stepped in to help him order something. He smiled a thank you my way and my heart melted. I worried a bit about what his mom would think upon waking but my gut told me it would be okay and that she just really needed her rest. Also, a bit later on, while I was playing a bit of Zuma, I could feel him watching me intently. And so when I finished the level, I asked if he might want to give it a try. He excitedly answered “Yes please!” In that moment his mom woke up and surveying the scene, a smile broke out on her face. She was so grateful for the offer. She had him switch seats to be beside me and I showed him how to play. The remainder of the flight, he played games on my Ipad while I read my book. Again, just one simple act of kindness made them both so happy and I in turn, happy, as well.
~The last leg of my trip there was a family (mom, dad and darling three year old daughter) sitting across from me. She was a spirited little girl and smart as a whip! Singing her abc’s at the top of her lungs, asking her mom to again and again to draw out with her finger on the back of the seat, letters, numbers and shapes, reading the same story over and over, again, again. It was late and everyone tired and I could see there were some who were irritated with the situation. And the parents could feel that, trying to strike a balance between letting her express herself and shushing her from time to time. When we landed, I sought the opportunity and when the little girl looked in my direction, I told her she was adorable and then added: and your mommy is a very nice mommy.” then commented how wonderful it was to be a witness to their interaction together. The little girl smiled big and proceeded to recite her abc’s to me. And then exclaimed to everyone waiting to de-plane : “we’re here, everybody!” That positive exchange meant to be just between us then spread and I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t smile at her adorable and genuine exclamation.
In addition, on that last leg of the trip I made the observation that everyone who I came in contact with was so kind, so reciprocating with the smiles and good energy. Our crew was fabulous and the flight attendant assigned to our section of the plane, was dynamic and so fun, even after such a long day. It was exactly the refreshment I needed, the Universe re-paying me with that same kind and loving energy I had worked so hard to display (though I must tell you, the longer you’re at it, you really don’t have to try, it rather transforms you).
But that is not all the Universe had in mind . . .
Because I was getting in so late, I didn’t dare want to ask or put the burden of picking me up on any of our friends and so set out to bear the expense (and boy do I mean expense, yikes) of renting a car to drive myself home from the airport. I was worried about it and had wished there was some way around it but was resigned to the fact. What a pleasant surprise to receive a text upon arrival that a friend of mine would be picking me up! Thank you Universe! Proof, yet again, that when you put love out there, share of yourself through these random acts of kindness, kind acts will be bestowed upon you in return.
Keep on giving the best of yourself. Be kind. Be LOVE . . .
*FOR MORE INSPIRATION:
~Check out our other posts on random acts of kindness~