Pay It Forward
Some years ago Michaela and I were flying from our trip to
Hawaii. We did not get our seats together and although the airlines and flight
attendants were supposed to help they did not. Michaela was young, the flight
was long, and our assigned seats far apart, so I was trying to get my daughter
next to me. I was just reading book about Buddhism. It was a chapter on how
it is important to be kind and to help others. Life is not always easy (I
should say life is MOSTLY not easy), but people can make it easier if they
would be nicer. I asked the people sitting next to Michaela, an older couple
in colorful dresses, if they would be willing to split up for us to sit
together. For some reason I thought they would understand. They did not even
look me in the eyes when they were saying, “No way!” I looked around and sought
help from the passengers around. Somebody on this flight must be a good person
and would be willing to change their seat with mother and young child,
right?! I looked and asked and looked again but nobody was willing. The
engines were roaring and the flight attended was pushing everyone to their
seats, including me. I took one last chance and tapped on the young man’s
shoulder who was sitting right next to me. He was holding hands with his girlfriend
or probably a new wife, because Hawaii gets a lot of honeymooners. That’s why
I did not want to separate them and asked them last. They also had their head
phones on and were reading a book (one book together). I said that I was
really sorry to bother them. They looked at me, looked at each other, and then
he asked his girlfriend-wife if it is alright with her if he goes sit somewhere
else. She said of course. I waved at Michaela who was watching me from the other
side of the plane, bravely holding her tears back. I was so happy that I
almost kissed the young couple on their suntanned cheeks. The plane took off,
my happy child was now sitting next to me and I promised myself that in the
future I will pay it forward.
My chance to pay this favor forward came last spring. I was on a flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles (by myself). I got one of the best seats on the flight! An aisle seat right in the front. The flight was totally full. Few minutes later a young man came and sat next to me. But he kept turning back as if he was looking for someone. He was also extremely good looking (did you ever noticed that a lot of the passengers on flights to LA are extremely good looking?). He looked like some of the new stars that show up in TV commercials or shows, even movies. He was also very pleasant and smiled a lot. We started conversation and I learned that he was the dancer for Taylor Swift. He also said that he has another friend on this flight but unfortunately they did not get their seats together. They were flying from one of their performances. Ah ha! I remembered my Hawaii “pay it forward” promise and immediately asked him if his friend would like to switch the seats with me. The young man, Kevin was his name, said that it would be fantastic, but he feels really bad about asking me because I will get a worse seat. But I was already on my feet.
I got middle seat between two ladies. They looked like relatives so I asked them if they would like to sit next to each other. And the younger lady answered: “No, thank you, we would love to have you in the middle, because I like the window and my mom likes the aisle.” I climbed in the middle and introduced myself. The lady by the window introduced herself, too, “Hi, I am Monique and this is my mom.” Since that moment we did not stop talking. We talked the whole flight, which was five hours! We talked until we landed in LA. We did not feel like we said it all, so we exchanged emails and continued our conversation by writing. We continued for months and kept planning our meeting. To meet with Monique is not easy task. She is a very busy woman and devoted traveler. To meet with me is not easy either. On top of that we don’t live close to each other. Our schedules kept overlapping. We finally set a date and met for an amazing lunch half way in between our homes.
As I was driving back home from our lunch I was thinking about how karma worked. Somebody did something good for me and I decided to pay it forward. In return I gained a new wonderful friend. If I would not have exchanged the seat I would never met Monique.
Did the young man in Hawaii exchange his seat with me just because he was nice or because someone did it for him in the past as well? I will never know, but it reminds me of the movie Pay It Forward. And I, once again, have fully realized that life is so much easier, so much richer, and so much more fun when we are kind to one another!
Because I will be posting this on Facebook I also would like
to let you know that I regularly delete all of my Facebook friends who use
vulgar or hateful words. This way my Facebook stays clean, fun, and full of wonderful
messages that fills me with a wisdom, laughter, admiration, inspiration, different
respectful opinions, knowledge and love.
I wish you a wonderful new week.