Saturday, November 05, 2011

Remarking on Remarkable Kindness

I'm in the hotel in London, sitting at my computer, having a cup of tea and eating a small Toblerone that I bought on the plane. Life is very, very, good.

This is the kind of trip that makes it seem like travelling isn't quite so bad. From dropping off luggage, to boarding, to flying, to landing, to getting luggage, to getting rental car, to getting checked in, to getting to the pub for a bite to eat and a drink ... everything went as it was planned to go - without a hitch. People were nice, assistance was available where it was supposed to be and WHEN it was supposed to be. Amazing. Lovely. We do everything we can to make this happen. What's under our control, we do. It's when you enter into a system that problems happen. Well, the system can work. That's lovely to know but disconcerting too ... that means that all the times that it doesn't it's not because of the system but because of the human element. Aye, there's the rub.

Well, speaking about the human element.

When I got on to the plane, first cause I'm special, I got into my seat. The people sitting in front of my, a thirtyish handsome couple with a cutie pie little girl of three, then arrived. When it was obvious that the fellow was going to sit in front of me, I decided to do damage control right off. I'd never done it before. I broke into his movements of putting things away and settling his little girl into her seat.

"Excuse me, I hate to bother you," he looked at me and smiled.

OK, good start.

"I thought I'd warn you now, I have difficulty with getting up out of my seat and when I do I'll be grabbing onto your seat and it will jostle you a bit. I just wanted to let you know now."

Smiling again, he said, "Oh, OK, no problem."

OK, good beginning.

"Some people get annoyed at being bothered so I thought We'd just deal with it straight up."

His wife jumped in, with a bit of a frown, "People are bothered by that? Gosh, what a little thing to be bothered by."

OK, great middle.

"I know, that's why I thought I'd mention it right away."

He said, "How about I just not recline my seat and that will give you the maximum room back there."

Now, I hadn't asked for that, but it would be terrific and though I wanted to say, 'no go ahead,' I spoke the truth instead, "That would be awesome."

OK, this is lovely.

Later in the flight, his little girl, who had chatted with me quite frequently during the flight, changed seats to sit in front of me. When she first stood up to talk to me, I indicated to them that talking with a bored little three year old was kinda fun. So they let it just happen and it kept her entertained for a few minutes. Anyways, as she had shifted, he shifted to the center seat. He looked over the seat and said, "Any problem with this one going back?" I shook my head. He smiled again and reclined the chair.

OK, this is exceptional.

As we were driving over to the hotel from the rental car place, we were remarking on how remarkable it was to have such a pleasant interchange. Then we remarked on the fact that we were thinking that mere human caring, honouring the social contract of civility and good will was remarkable.

I'm so used to impatience and to being in the way that it was simply nice for them to do something for me, and for me to do something for them, and for all of us to have had a nice flight. Because of people's who's names we don't know, who's lives will probably never cross again, who were nice only because they could.

Lovely.

It was a lovely flight.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great! :-)
Julia

Team Lando said...

I was reading this thinking how happy THEY probably were to be sitting with folks who were pleased to chat with their bored three year old! Again, social contract and kindness at it's best. (Or perhaps just what it should be.)

Michelle Jadaa said...

A wonderful start!I hope my homeland is as kind during your whole trip :)
So what are your plans ?Its been quite a while since i was home..I hope you have a wonderful pain free stress free time ...Hugzzz.

Belinda said...

So glad to hear that. Traveling companions can make or break the journey and it's a looong way across the pond. :)

theknapper said...

May LOVELY continue on your trip!

imfunnytoo said...

How rare that is...and how fabulous.

trainspotter said...

I'm glad to hear you had a lovely flight!

A cup of tea AND a Toblerone... that's definitely a great start to a very,very good life :)

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear that you guys had such a nice flight.. I will keep sending positive thoughts that the rest of your trip goes well!

-KR