Friday, January 4, 2013

Honoring A Service Man On the Airplane

A view from inside one of our planes on our 2010 Africa trip.  

Our last flight back to the mainland from Hawaii, was from Phoenix to Pittsburg.  Jess and I were not seated next to one another.  The flight was full, so as we boarded, I asked a young man (it's funny to call someone a young man, he looked to be about 18-19) in a military uniform if he'd be willing to switch seats with me...  

He was in an aisle seat sitting next to Jess and he would have to move to a middle seat in the next row up.  I told him that he didn't have to say yes, that I was just asking.  He said no problem and moved to the row in front of us.  
As I got settled in my seat, a man stood up and addressed the young man in uniform saying "I'm in an emergency exit row and I'd like you to have my seat."  (Emergency exit rows have a lot more leg room, and he was giving up an aisle seat.)  The service man, tried to refuse, "no, it's okay." And the man insisted.  The service man, stood to his feet and stuck out his hand saying thank you to the man giving up his seat, the man giving up his seat said, "no thank you."  

It made me think a couple of things.  The first was... if this service man had not switched seats with me, the honor would not have been as great.  It would have still been an upgrade, but it would have simply been switching from an aisle seat, to an emergency aisle seat with more leg room.  Whereas because of this man's generosity with switching seats with me, his reward was greater, because he went from a middle seat, to an emergency row aisle seat.  Now that I'm writing this it kind of reminds me of Luke 14:1-14

The second thought I had was that this act of honor changed the atmosphere on the plane.  Everyone that saw an older man, give up his seat to a younger man in uniform took notice and for a few seconds everything paused.  Honor is a great thing, that we don't see very much anymore, and it's inspiring.  

It made me wonder this: Can there be honor without sacrifice?  

Engage:  What is the most memorable spontaneous act of honor you've seen?  Let us know in the comments.  

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