It is great that the world is easier to explore thanks to more affordable and frequent flights, but there is still a big struggle involved with flying. We can be stuck in the airport for what feels like days at a time, shuffling from the security line to another in the departure lounge. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired of standing in line or not, there’s more to come as you get to the gate. Once you get through the airport and onto the plane there’s another problem, everyone is crammed into the aircraft like sardines in a can.
Sometimes you’re stuck on a plane for up to half a day, and it definitely feels at least that long every time you fly! One military officer knew the struggle of flying all too well as they were making their way back home, but that didn’t make the journey any easier. Instead of settling into the flight, this military personnel had someone come along and ask them to leave their seat for an unbelievable reason.
Familiar flying struggle
Some airlines like to board any military personnel flying with them early as a mark of respect for the jobs they do. Members of the Armed Forces are often welcomed onto American flights along with first class passengers, allowing them to avoid crowds of people cramming onboard.
One military woman had found her seat on the plane and began to settle in for the long haul as everyone else boarded. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before another passenger came along and disturbed her.
A tough job
The officer had been stationed away from home, and she knew that it wouldn’t be too long before she could see the smiling faces of her family again. Before she got to see her family once more, there was just one more thing for her to overcome after several months spent on a military base. This long flight was the last hurdle to get over and then she would be back home.
All she wanted to do was wait for the plane to take off and then close her eyes. If she slept through the flight, then it would feel like it went quicker, plus she’d be refreshed when her family greeted her at the airport.
The officer had been permitted to board the plane before the other passengers thanks to the airline’s policy. She had been fortunate enough to find her seat as everyone else was still lined up outside. The only people on the plane except for this Armed Forces woman were the crew and the first class travelers.
After finding her seat in economy class with ease, the officer sat down, but she knew there would be another passenger coming along to sit next to her shortly. Not wanting to be disturbed when falling asleep, the woman waited for the other passengers to arrive before getting too comfortable. What she didn’t expect was someone to ask her to leave her seat entirely.
The Armed Forces officer knew she had gotten the right seat as she had plenty of time to find it while the other passengers were still outside. As far as she was concernedm she was definitely sitting in the place she had been allocated by her ticket, and she began to settle into seat 31 B.
The rest of the passengers began to file onto the plane, and the officer knew that it wouldn’t be long before they took off. After barely warming up her seat, a man approached her but he wasn’t in the neighboring seats, he was adamant he was sitting in 31 B. The officer knew for sure that she was in the right seat!
That’s my seat
This man came along and was telling the military woman she was in the wrong seat, informing her that she was where he was supposed to be sitting. Although she knew he was wrong, she checked her ticket once more and written clearly was her name and her seat, 31 B.
Despite having hard evidence in front of him, the man wasn’t convinced and didn’t seem to be satisfied by what she had to say. He appeared determined to sit in the military officer’s seat, but there was no obvious reason why he wanted to sit there. Surely he had his own seat that he could go and sit in, why was he trying to take this one?
The view from first class
It’s not just the Armed Forces who are fortunate enough to board flights early, first class passengers are also given that privilege. First class passengers sit at the front of the plane, keeping economy class behind them and maintaining the serene quiet.
First class remains undisturbed this way, and those passengers who spent a lot of money get their privacy. From first class, you can look all the way back along the cabin and see how cramped the people are in coach.
Many of us know the great job our Armed Forces officers do, but not all of us are able to show them our gratitude. While many military personnel would be happy with a thank you and a handshake, one passenger onboard the plane that day wanted to do something extra special.
When they aren’t in another country fighting for our lives, the Armed Forces officers are at home helping to keep the country running. For that reason, one passenger wanted to show how much they appreciate everything the military does.
Who was in the right seat?
The man was insisting the military woman had the wrong seat and even asked to see her ticket to make sure. One woman, Jessica Titus, witnessed the interaction between the pair and she couldn’t believe what was happening.
It seemed like the military woman just wanted to be left in peace, but this passenger wasn’t going to let that happen. He kept insisting she was in the wrong place despite what she had to say for herself, was this man picking a fight with the wrong person?
All the military woman wanted to do was get her head down for a few hours, and then before she knew it, she would be able to see her family.
This man was clearly not going to let her sleep any time soon, and instead of accepting he had gotten things wrong, he began to dig his heels in. He wasn’t going anywhere, even though the officer was in the right seat. This issue was going to need resolving soon, and before she called for assistance, the man revealed his motive.
Making a beeline
Jessica had witnessed the man insisting he sit where the military woman was sat, and it soon became clear why he was making such a fuss. The man had been on the plane just as long as the Armed Forces officer, but he wasn’t another soldier, instead, his journey began in first class.
He had glanced back to the coach section of the plane and noticed the officer’s military cap. From first class, he spotted the Army hat and decided it was time he did something nice.
Explaining his actions
The man who was traveling in first class was trying to give up his seat for the Army officer but had been doing a bad job of explaining his plan. Although she was initially confused by his insistence she was in the wrong seat, she eventually understood.
Gladly she accepted his offer to switch seats and quickly moved from her place in coach all the way to the front of the plane. As she left coach, the man from first class happily took her spot in the tightly packed section.
Generosity goes a long way
The woman was sat in the middle of a row in coach class, but it wasn’t long before she was headed to the first class area. Now she would have as much space as she wanted to stretch out and she would get plenty of peace in her new luxurious seat too.
The man had made this uniformed woman’s day and he made sure she would be able to meet her family feeling as refreshed as possible. While he would be spending the next few hours feeling cramped, it was worth it.
Returning the offer
Jessica Titus was still watching the whole situation unfold, and she wanted to offer something to the man. She didn’t have her own first class seat to give to him, but she passed a note forward to 31 B along with some money.
In the note she told the man that he could grab a snack or a drink on her, but continuing his generosity, he refused the offer. He declined her offer, but there was something Jessica could do for him, share his story with the world.
Amy Adams did the same!
Amy Adams, the five-time Oscar-nominated actress, did something very similar when she flew first class in 2016. She was born on a military base and confessed to a fellow passenger that giving up her seat to a serviceman was something she had always wanted to do.
When flying from Detroit to Los Angeles, Adams flew in coach as a serviceman took her place. She said she didn’t do it for her own attention but to bring attention to the troops who serve their country.
A better place
The man onboard this plane wanted to remain anonymous and was fortunate enough not to be a world-famous actress, so he could. Jessica Titus shared the story by posting it to the Love What Matters social media page.
She wrote that if we treat others with the same respect the first class passenger did for this servicewoman the world would be a better place. In sharing the story, Jessica has shown how generous some strangers can be, and the world isn’t as bad a place as some would have us believe!
The choices we make
Whichever way you want to slice it, everything we do in life comes back to the choices we make. The passenger on the plane had to make a choice to be unselfish and offer up his expensive seat.
The female soldier had to make a choice to enroll in the first place. We tend to understate the power that lives within that moment of making a decision. Because if it’s made with the right connotations, it can potentially change your life.
The follow through
Notice how we used the word “potentially” in that sentence. You see, choices are key, but without a proper follow through they don’t mean that much.
The reason we respect the soldiers of America is because they didn’t just enlist to serve our country – they followed through and put their dreams into actions. As a result, she was rewarded with a first class seat by a man who wanted to do some following through of his own.
After you’ve made the choice, and you’ve followed through with it, perhaps the next stage in that evolution is where you find yourself. It’s more than just a female soldier looking at herself in the mirror and saying, “I am a soldier.”
It’s about her discovering her inner spirit that lives within, because it’s that very spirit that helped her run those laps, and serve time in the trenches, time after time after time again. And once you’ve found yourself, everyone can see it too.
Reaping the rewards
So after this female soldier had made that big decision, and followed through with it, and found her inner spirit, now is the time where she reaps the rewards.
She finally was able to take a break from her service and hop on a plane back home – and that would’ve been enough for her. But she got so much more than she bargained for. She never expected her “reward” to be a first class seat. And to be honest, that will have made all the difference.
Not for glory
A soldier’s motive obviously isn’t to receive medals or badges or even first class seats. They serve their country because they feel it’s the right thing to do.
The truth is that everyone has their own specific reasons, but chances are most of them aren’t seeking out glory. And this is exactly why they’re the ones who deserve it. They’re the ones putting their necks on the line day in and day out – all for the betterment of their beloved country.
However, we do feel compelled to point out that not all soldiers return the same. Every soldier’s service period is different, and some of them end up going through some rough trials.
Some have witnessed the passing of their friends, or even friendly acquaintances. These types of things can really stay with you, and for this reason everyone must be sensitive to certain things around them – even when it comes to offering them a first class seat on a plane.
Saying yes to happiness
Here’s what we mean by that. Some soldiers have such traumatic memories that they have trouble acclimating themselves to what we might call “normal” life.
An act of kindness, like the one that took place in this story, is the kind of thing that they might not want to accept. They may not feel up for it. We’d like to come out and say that they need to “say yes to happiness,” but that’s easier said than done. Hurdles must be overcome to reach that mark.
A real survivor
A great example of a military veteran who overcame hurdles in front of the entire world was Ben Driebergen, a contestant of the 35th season of the reality show Survivor.
On the show, he spoke about his time in the military, and how he still struggles sometimes with the memories. He ended up being the sole survivor, winning $1 million, but his true triumph was when he spoke about his family. He mentioned how much he loves his wife and family, and how she “saved” him.
Good deeds all around
Now for a way to bring it back to the passenger in our story. Giving something of yourself is one of those things that happens in an instant. The longer we think about it, the harder it is.
If that generous passenger would’ve hesitated a moment, he might’ve not given the soldier the seat ultimately. But he didn’t give himself time to think otherwise. He immediately jumped at the prospect of doing a good deed, and in the process showed us what the world’s about.
Spreading the love
But here’s the kicker – Jessica Titus is the one who actually spread this story to the public. After all, none of us would ever know about it if it wasn’t for her.
What the passenger did was wonderful, but thanks to Jessica now the entire world is benefiting from that good deed. For all she knows, a thousand more good deeds might be done in 2019 as a result. And who knows… millions more might stem from those. It’s a beautiful endless cycle.
While obviously a Hollywood movie will never be able to fully bring to life what military personnel go through, they do paint a picture of what life is like in the line of duty.
For instance, the 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge shows a real example of bravery in a soldier who did everything in his power to fight for his country. While this movie is based on true events, it does have a Hollywood twist. That being said, soldiers do stuff like that every day when serving in the military.
Everyone knows a soldier
When you think about it, every American probably knows at least one soldier in the United States military. This means that everyone has some idea of what it takes to serve the country – perhaps from stories they’ve told, or from seeing what they’ve gone through.
The only thing is that we will never understand what it takes to be a soldier. We should all try to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the armed forces and thank them for their service.
The Things They Carried
While Hollywood tends to put their own twist into movies because they’re all about selling tickets and entertaining people, there is a book that told the unaltered story of Vietnam War soldiers that has other intentions.
This book was intended to share the experience of soldiers who had been through the worst of the worst when it comes to war. Some made it through and came home, while others weren’t so lucky. The Things They Carried is an interpretation of what a soldier goes through before, during, and after war.
The truth is many soldiers might not be doing so well once they return home from their duty. They can be struggling to acclimate back to normal society or they may suffer from PTSD.
There are so many things that could have happened while they were out on tours that someone who hasn’t experience it will never understand. Because of this, we should be sensitive and patient toward them as they adjust. Think about how much a smile, hug, handshake, or even just a thank you would mean to them.
Perhaps this is what makes the other passenger so remarkable. All he did was see the woman in uniform and he knew he needed to do something kind for her. He had no idea what she’d been through, or if she had been to the front lines.
He just gave her the respect she deserved without even thinking twice. Jessica really is right in saying that the world would be a better place with more people like him.
More to the story
There is also the possibility that there is more to the story. Maybe the gentleman had also been a soldier in his life, or that he had a loved one who was in the service.
Perhaps he did know the sacrifices the soldier had gone through and that’s why he gave up his seat without hesitation. Luxuries are few and far in between in the military, and maybe he knew that, so that’s why he wanted to do something nice for her.
Up in the air
Because the selfless man wished to remain anonymous, we will probably never know his true intentions behind his actions. It was clearly just an act of kindness, but whether he had a connection to the military or not, we will have to leave up in the air.
Regardless, his generosity definitely affected the woman for the better and she hopefully had a restful and peaceful journey home to see her family. What a happy ending.
One small act
Imagine if everyone were to do one nice thing for someone every day and then they simply said the only way to “repay” or thank them was to go on and do something nice for someone else.
It could create a ripple effect that could reach the whole population in a relatively short amount of time. People can be so cruel and harsh to each other these days that it is pretty impossible to think of a society where people are actually kind to one another.
Pay it forward
The 2000 film Pay it Forward shows us how one small act of kindness toward another person can really change lives. A middle school student ends up starting a movement that made it across the country with a simple project in his social studies class.
The boy does one act of kindness for three strangers, and then they do the same for three more people, and so on. The film shows just how much people can impact the world with kindness.
Changing the world
It may be unfortunate, but there’s a good chance what this man did for the soldier will not change the world. Eventually people will forget and move on. On the other hand, the soldier will probably never forget what he did for her.
It was something so genuine and unexpected that it’s something she will most likely remember for years to come. It was because of him that she got to enjoy her flight home and was well-rested in time to reconnect with her family.