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A-Ha Moments

Your Choice: Make a Day or Crush a Day

Written by: Bill Sherman on Sunday, 23 July 2006, 3:23 PM

Yesterday evening, I flew home to St. Louis from LA.

Somewhere over the Great Plains, I got up and went to the back of the plane. While I waited for the restroom to become available, one of the flight attendants reached out to me and said, “You are one of the nicest and politest people whom I’ve ever met. Tell your momma that she did a wonderful job. You’ve made my week.”

I blinked. I didn’t think that I’d done anything special during the flight. I was the guy in 18C who asked for a Diet Coke and peanuts (instead of the box snack that has lots of calories and carbs). Sure, I’d said please and thank you. I tried to be sincere (rather than on autopilot), but I hadn’t fawned praise or exuded gratitude. What made me so special to this flight attendant?

It’s amazing how little interactions can impact people. This week, while I was in LA, I saw a couple treat a valet at the hotel like he was less than human. They verbally berated him because he’d been fetching another car when they pulled up. So they had to wait sixty seconds for him to return. I physically winced on behalf of this poor guy. I think the couple had a fight and had decided to take it out on him. Their casual cruelty really felt like a drive-by. After the couple walked into the hotel, the valet shook his head trying to clear out the negativity he’d just experienced. I made eye contact with him, shrugged my shoulders, and gave a warm smile. I wanted to remind him that not everyone in the world acted like jerks.

Anyway, back to the flight last evening. The flight attendant really made my day. I was glad to have touched her life in a good way, and it was great that she shared her feelings with me. When I call my mom this weekend, I plan to share the story with her and brighten her day. She did well.

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