Do I Want to Be Like Me? – My experience with a gracious person
I woke upat 4:30, took a quick shower, drove to the airport, spent 30 minutes waiting in line to have my privacy invaded and then I boarded my flight. I’ve been flying quite a bit lately and am kind of on auto pilot. Auto-pilot of me means I’ve gotten a bit quirky. For example, I fly on the south-side of the plane when flying east in the morning so that I can have the window open without being blinded.
So this morning I boarded my flight, found my row and sat in my seat. I put my stuff away and started to read. At this point a skinny person sat next to me. Life is good.
A few minutes later a guy got my attention, he showed me his ticket that said 6D. I was getting ready to show him that 6D was on the other side of the plane when I realized that I was in his seat and the 6A seat I had was the one on the “sun in the window” side of the plane. I not only screwed up his isle seat, I had taken the skinny persons window seat.
A couple weeks ago I boarded my flight and on that flight things were reversed. Someone was in my seat and I didn’t cause a ruckus but I made it clear that he was in my seat and he moved over and I took my window seat (yes, I was flying west in the evening and so I was on the north side of the plane). During that flight I learned that this was his second time flying and he hadn’t flown in over 40 years. It soon became clear to me, I was a jerk. He would have enjoyed looking out instead I looked out.
Today, when the man checked his ticket he said, “no problem, I’ll just sit in your seat”. The skinny person didn’t care and so I just stayed in my prime “no sun window seat” and felt embarrassed.
I didn’t purposefully make screw things up. I didn’t wake up grumpy or even try to pull one over. I was just plain wrong. But I instead of having to explain myself, move and look like an idiot, he just took care of things and reacted quickly and with grace.
I took two lessons away from my flight this morning. First, I want to me more like him than me. I choose today to be gracious on flights when someone is in my seat. Second, I need to be gracious in dealing with other peoples’ mistakes. It is so easy to rush to conclusions and assume motive but that makes for a longer, rougher journey.
How would our interactions with our kids and other family members change if we were gracious instead of going into grumble and rant mode? Would our kids want to be more like us?