Itravel a lot. I’d like to share my experience on a recent United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Dallas.
The plane arrived 30 minutes late from San Francisco, California. The crew in Los Angeles hurried to prepare the plane for the next trip to Dallas, Texas. When it was time to board, I walked onto the jetway. Right before the door to enter the plane, an elderly woman sat in a wheelchair waiting to get on. I was first in line after her, and a long line grew quickly behind us.
Suddenly, the captain of the airplane stepped out from the plane door. He held out his arms and helped the woman out of the wheelchair. The woman slowly stood on unsteady feet, holding a cane in one hand. The captain picked up her bag and sweater, and helped her walk onto the plane. Once inside, he asked me to wait while he made sure that the woman was seated comfortably. All while the line continued to grow behind me with people anxious to get to their seat on the plane.
I was so surprised by the pilot’s unexpected kindness. I wanted people to know how much the pilot carefully cared for an older passenger, even though the plane was late. As soon as I sat down in my seat, I put a message on Twitter: “Impressed: @United captain helps frail old woman onto LAX-DFW flight. #HeroesInLife.”
Even though the take-off was delayed, the plane landed in Dallas two hours and 20 minutes later—11 minutes ahead of schedule!
I was determined to learn the name of this kind captain. At the plane’s exit door, I asked the flight attendant. She smiled and motioned to the open cockpit door. “Why don’t you ask him yourself?” she said.
Captain Tuong Nguyen looked surprised at my question. I thanked him for his kindness to the elderly woman. I reached out my hand in appreciation. Captain Nguyen smiled as he shook my hand, the same hand he used to assist the woman. I could tell that he considered his good deed to be part of his job. I took his picture!
Is taking time to show kindness to a person important? The Bible says: “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good” (2 Thess. 3:13, NIV). Kindness is important, even when we are running behind schedule. Kindness can have its own reward. Even though our flight was running late, the pilot took the time to assist the passenger, and we landed early.
My prayer is: Help me, Lord, never to grow tired of doing good. I hope that’s your prayer too.
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