Sick baby on a plane.
Sick baby on a plane on my flight.
We’ve all been there, trapped on a flight with a screaming child, shrinking into our headphones, preparing to suffer for the next few hours however long the flight takes. Or if he’s not screaming, we mumble the mantra “I hope the kid doesn’t cry.” Because nothing, except maybe a toothache, seems more painful than. Being trapped. With a baby. With a baby on my flight.
This baby on a plane tale has a different story arc, however. Facebook exploded with shares about an anonymous gentleman on an American Airlines flight.
The flight attendant came over and told me you were waiting to switch seats. You were giving up your comfortable, first class seat to us.
One thoughtful, generous first class passenger switched seats, giving his to a woman encumbered with a baby wearing oxygen tubing on a flight from Orlando, Florida to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kelsey Zwick was transporting her 11-month old daughter, Lucy, to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to be treated for chronic lung disease. Narrow, crowded coach seats hardly seat an adult comfortably let alone one with a baby on her lap. A stranger saw this and thought the mother and child would be more comfortable in first class. Now that’s class!
Having never flown first class, my thoughts wandered to the price of a first class seat. They aren’t discounted. Rarely can one be obtained for a mileage award. Even if someone had gifted him the seat, giving it up would have been somewhat painful. My point is, this likely cost the donor some bucks or caused discomfort! Other thoughts swarmed around “Wow.” Would I have been so prescient, so generous of spirit, to give up my comfort — the amount I paid! — for someone I didn’t know? someone I hadn’t met?
I like to think of myself as kind, maybe a bit noble (cough cough). But when faced with the question I just asked, I admit I would not have given my seat. I’ve given up my seat on the subway, ceded my place in line in a store, yielded to other traffic, and the like. Those actions have no monetary value; at worst they cost me some discomfort or time. When it comes to parting with substance or chattel I’m more chary. I think it comes from feeling like I will miss out on something. Mr. 2D saw a situation and did not compute a balance sheet. For whatever reason, he saw a situation and acted. He rose to the occasion.
Things to think about:
Can I be more charitable? More thoughtful? More giving? How can I rise to occasions — no, not just rise, but clearly see occasions — where I can be a giver, beyond my comfort? How can I be a more sensitive citizen of this world where superficial looks glance off people and on to the next interesting thing? How can I feel more deeply? Will there be a time when I will not calculate my potential “loss” into my equation of giving?