When you see a servicewoman in uniform board an airplane, you might be tempted to thank her for her service. There are even stronger ways to express your gratitude; actions really do speak louder than words.
A woman named Jessica Titus was taking a simple flight when she witnessed a scene that reminded her of these observations. We assume that she was in a typical “flight mood,” which is to say, a bit irritated and a bit lost in her own world. As she was walking down the aisle en route to her seat though, she noticed that a U.S. Army servicewoman was right in front of her.
They were both headed toward coach; that’s not surprising. First class can get awfully pricey. But, as Titus looked on, a man who was sitting in first class looked up at the soldier.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I seem to have taken your seat,” the man said, or something very close to it. The soldier didn’t know what he was talking about. This was first class, after all, and her ticket very clearly had her in coach.
She tried to correct the situation.
“I’m in seat 31 B,” she said, glancing at her ticket. That seat was definitely not in first class.
The man simply stood and headed to seat 31 B, leaving his place in first class for a woman who was willing to make incredible sacrifices to defend his freedom. This was a true act of gratitude; her seat wasn’t a window or an aisle seat. It was in the middle, which is, as everyone knows, the least comfortable seating assignment in every row.
Titus watched the whole scene play out. She was impressed. She was inspired. She wanted to let the man know that his act of kindness had not gone unnoticed, so she concocted a plan to send him a small gesture of her pride in his action.
She tore a page out of her notebook and took out a pen.
“Seat 31 B,” she addressed the brief note. “Please accept a drink or snack on me. If everyone treated people the way you treated the servicewoman, the world would be a better place.”
Enclosed in the note she placed a single bill. When she shared the story via social media later, she didn’t say exactly how much money she gave the man. From the edge of the bill that’s visible in an image she included, it looks like either a $10 or a $20. Either way, it was a kind gesture.
These sorts of things tend to spread. The man gave up his seat; Titus tried to buy him a snack.
Note that we write “tried to.”
“Spoiler alert,” Titus wrote in her account of the event. “He refused my offer.”
Titus had sent the note with a flight attendant; presumably, she simply carried the money back and returned it to Titus. Whoever that mystery man was, he’s clearly a class act.
Titus concluded her retelling with some advice that we’d all do well to remember.
“Do good,” she wrote. “Recognize good. Make the world better.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.