My 9-year-old daughter and I were flying from our home in Charlotte,North Carolina, to spend a week with my husband in Miami, Florida. Mikehad been in Florida for five months working for an Internet start-upcompany. We were excited about the trip because we had seen him only fivetimes in five months, and Kallie missed her dad terribly.
As usual on the Charlotte-to-Miami flight, the plane was totally full.I had noticed a troop of Boy Scouts at the gate and commented to mydaughter that if anything happened, we would be OK with all those Scoutson our flight! Little did I know....Because we did not get our boarding passes until we arrived at thegate, Kallie and I could not get seats together and were separated by theaisle.
That wasn't such a big deal, except that Kallie was nervous aboutthe trip and had counted on my reading to her the whole way. Trying toread across the aisle would be a challenge.When the two passengers who shared my row boarded the plane, I askedif they would switch places with Kallie and me, so that we could betogether and so that she could sit next to the window. They refused,saying they thought they should stay in their assigned seats.
Meanwhile,a mother and her three children were in a panic several rows ahead of us.There had been a mistake in their boarding passes, the whole family hadbeen split up.The passengers in her row also refused to move elsewhere. The mothercould hold her baby, but her 6-year-old son and his older brother hadbeen scattered around the plane. She was very concerned about the youngerboy sitting with strangers. She was in tears, yet nobody offered to helpher.
Suddenly the Scout leader stood up and said, "Ma'am, I think we canhelp you." He then spent five minutes rearranging his group so thatadequate space was available for the family. The boys followed hisdirections cheerfully and without complaint, and the mother's relief wasobvious.
Kallie, however, was beginning to panic at the thought of not being next to a window or her mother. I told her that there wasn't anything Icould do; we would have to sit where we were. Amazingly, the man sittingnext to the Scoutmaster (not a Scout himself), turned around to me andasked, "Would you and your daughter like our seats?" referring to himself and the Scoutmaster. He said he was cramped in the window seat and wouldreally prefer the aisle. We traded seats and continued our trip, verymuch relieved to be together and watch the scenery from Kallie's windowseat.
Would that man have offered us his seat if the Scouts hadn't done sofor the mom and her children? I don't know. But I do know that kindnessis contagious, and good deeds beget good deeds!
- Phyllis Yearick
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