. . . If you haven’t read the beginning of this story, click here: First Class!
I got out of my seat and approached the first-class flight attendant who was in the front galley. I spoke very quietly so that my words would not be heard by anybody else.
“Is there any way that I could anonymously trade my seat with the young man in the Navy uniform? I don’t want him to know that I’m doing this – you could just tell him that there’s an empty seat up front and I’ll move to the back and take his. I can hide up here in the galley until he is moved so that nobody knows.”
The flight attendant gave me a world-class smile. He said he thought it was a great idea! He also told me that there was one open seat in first class and it was right next to me. “Sir, seat 1D is open. You keep your seat. I’ll go see what I can do.”
I sat back down and buckled in. A few minutes later he walked up behind me and knelt down so that no one could hear. He had gone back and spoken to the young man who had respectfully declined – he was in an exit row with plenty of legroom and had already stowed all of his gear. Then the flight attendant, whose name was Merle, told me that it was great for him to see someone looking out for someone other than himself or herself. “Sir, I take care of first-class all the time. Most people are out just for themselves. You have touched me by your generosity. I appreciate being able to serve you.”
Well, for the rest of the flight, I was “Mr. Mallon.” I don’t know how he got my name, but he did. And then all of the other flight attendants began to come by and ask if I needed anything. They all called me by name. I literally couldn’t take a sip of my coffee without someone refilling it for me. They made such a fuss that the other people in first-class began asking them who I was. It became kind of embarrassing, but not too embarrassing!!!
When the plane landed, we taxied to the gate. I was the first person off the plane. As I passed the cockpit, the pilot and Merle were standing there. “Have a great day, Mr. Mallon,” the pilot said… Wow!!!
What can we learn from this?
- There are opportunities to serve everywhere. All we have to do is open our eyes and listen. God will provide the opportunities.
- Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zones to get the ball rolling. I could easily have let myself wimp out for fear of what others might have thought. We may at times feel a little ridiculous, but if we obey God, great things happen. He never let’s us down.
- When we obey, God gives us joy. There is joy in getting our eyes off of ourselves, and just living as Jesus asks us to—by serving others.
- Sometimes serving results in outcomes we don’t even consider. I was touched by the fact that although my original intention didn’t work out, other people were impacted. And isn’t that the way God works in our lives. As I looked back at that incident, I saw that it wasn’t the young Navy man who was supposed to benefit, learn, or be touched by this little event; it was Merle, the other attendants, the pilot—and even me!
- And lastly, you never truly know who is watching you or what the results of your generosity may be. But I do know this – God is always watching…