Sanctuary: Blog

To the Stranger on My Flight

Submitted by: Landa Harrison, Senior Project Manager, Sanctuary Institute


I watched you while we were waiting to board and asked myself:  What’s happened that led to your verbally assaulting the gate attendant because she gently reminded you to allow those in wheelchairs to board first?  I felt troubled watching that, but I turned up my music and waited to get on the plane.

After boarding, I listened to you complain loudly to your wife about the mother traveling alone with her two small children in front of you.  While we waited for 30 minutes on the runway, she entertained them as best she could, their laughter frustrating you.  I watched her face fall when you used an aggressive voice to inform that mother of two that her young children were distracting and startling with their noise.

I noted when your wife spoke to you, you said, "I can’t hear you.  If you don’t speak up, you obviously don't have anything important to say."

Now, I have written you a note on the back my napkin to ask you "what happened?" and to offer you both my compassion and my perspective as an observer.

Perhaps you are traveling to see a dying parent, or to a stressful work event.  Maybe you are on your way to a golfing vacation with friends. Whatever the case, I wish you well, hope you will be safe on your journey and offer to you that in the end, kindness matters. Really.

Thank you for the smile when I handed you this napkin.

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