Wednesday, August 03, 2005


It began as a routine flight. The first-class passengers boarded first, then mothers with babies, then the row-by-row ticket holders. But amidst the shuffling of feet and the shoving of overhead gear, one first-class passenger perched on his plush seat, formulating an idea.

"Miss?" he said.

The nearest flight attendant turned to hear his request. Did he want cookies already? A pillow? A glass of champagne?

"I saw a group of soldiers standing together in the boarding area, waiting to get on this plane."

The flight attendant nodded.

"I'd like to give one of them my seat."

At that, the woman smiled. Not taking him seriously, she turned to greet the next passenger.

But the man with the idea wasn't deterred. You don't become a regular first-class flyer by waiting on other people to bring what you want. This guy was a man of action. He watched the doorway and scanned the oncomers. He didn't have to wait long before the first of the soldiers stepped onto the plane and walked his way.

"Hey, soldier -- where are you sitting?"

The young man looked down at the ticket in his hand and replied, "22E."

“Not any more, you’re not,” the first-class passenger said. “You’re sitting here.” Rising, he grabbed his Wall Street Journal, briefcase and jacket, stepped out in the aisle, and gestured for the startled soldier to take his seat.

Good deeds often multiply. Another passenger, noting the exchange from across the aisle, followed suit.

"Hey, soldier," he said to the next uniformed passenger. "Where are you sitting?"

Then another gave up his seat, and another. It wasn't long before twelve of the sixteen first-class seats were filled with soldiers. The switch only stopped when they ran out of soldiers.

I loved hearing that news story when it broke. It made me cry, if you must know the truth. We have young people from our church serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and my thoughts often turn toward them. I loved envisioning those dozen battle-weary soldiers sinking into leather seats and relaxing for most likely the first time in a long time. I loved the honor those other passengers extended to the young men and women who had been off serving -- and hurting -- on foreign soil.

A wise someone once said, "Be kind to each other. You don't know what battles each have faced that day." What a powerful admonition -- and so true. We're all in a battle of some kind or another. The person you're near right now may have endured harsh words from a loved one this morning. They may be struggling with a painful decision. They may be scarred from countless losses. They may feel defeated, worthless, weak, overwhelmed, empty. But you have the power to soothe their wounds and lift their spirits. It's not as hard as you might think to bandage a heart. Words are free. It costs nothing -- nothing -- to speak encouragement into a person, to transfer comfort, to build courage ... to change a life.

Love each other today. And find a small way to honor the soldiers in your lives. Who knows? You might just start a revolution.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. --Gal 6:10 (NIV)


18 Comment:

At 8/03/2005 10:58 AM, Blogger RagDoll had this to say ...

That is an AWESOME story. Thanks for posting it, and thank you for the blog battle!

Have a great day!

At 8/03/2005 11:32 AM, Blogger Stephen had this to say ...

Wow! Neat!

At 8/03/2005 11:47 AM, Blogger Lori had this to say ...

Kindness is contagious and isn't that wonderful? As you said, it costs nothing to be nice to someone and it is a gesture that usually has a ripple effect.

Our whole reason for being here....to love God and to love others. That's our purpose in the tiniest of nutshells...

At 8/03/2005 3:06 PM, Blogger Fishkrisser <> had this to say ...

Hey Shannon, I like to think of myself as patriotic person and hearing something like that just amazes me and makes my eyes watery too (only cause of allergies though).

This in my opinion is one of the best posts that you have ever put up and thats saying a lot. :) Thank you!!!

At 8/03/2005 3:45 PM, Blogger whaaaat! had this to say ...

I thought about not making a comment, but I do that too often in real life.
Great post, great encouragement to take the step to show God's love.

At 8/03/2005 5:35 PM, Blogger Sharon had this to say ...

Hi Shanny!
I LOVED this story.Brought tears to my patriotic blue eyes.Kindness is contagious.But it has to start with someone,somewhere making the first move.Awesome post woman!I have posted some more at my blog if you have time totake a peek. :-)

At 8/03/2005 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...


There are people you reach with your witness, wisdom,
witt and good will, you know nothing of... but everyday, you bring a bit of joy and sunlight to the dark days of widowhood. I speak from experience, 'tis a wonderful ministry, reaching beyond your ducks, goats and country living.

God bless your commitment to His cause and people.

At 8/03/2005 6:13 PM, Blogger JOE B had this to say ...

Ha, I read this one at home and I am glad I did. (You know why.) I love hearing stories like this. We have a few young men from our church oversees also. I miss those guys very much. I wrote about one of them a few months ago. These guys do not consider themselves heroes but I do. That reminds me I need to email my friend and see how he is doing.
God bless, Joe

At 8/03/2005 6:16 PM, Blogger Ayannali had this to say ...

That is a great story.

I only wish I travelled up front more to be in a position to do that.

Nice blog :)

At 8/03/2005 8:19 PM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Shannon, you hit the target right smack in the middle with this one. Whether it's battle-weary soldiers or battle-weary store clerks, kindness speaks volumes.

Your blog is a great ministry tool. It never fails to speak to my heart in one way or another. Thanks for being faithful to the call!

At 8/03/2005 8:29 PM, Anonymous donnabutler had this to say ...

This was my first visit to your blog and I am deeply touched...you spoke to my heart today....I love what God is doing in the blogging world....will visit again soon


At 8/04/2005 7:41 AM, Blogger Donna J. Shepherd had this to say ...

Great post and story. Really touched my heart. Thanks!


At 8/04/2005 8:29 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Thanks, Ragdoll, Stephen, Lori and Fish!

Whaaaaat! -- I know what you mean. I often read something, start to comment, and think, "Everyone already said all that." Glad you fought your way through the hesitation. :)

I'll hop over and read your blog, Sharon.

Norma, you made me cry. What a beautifully phrased comment -- thank you. And God bless you as you seek Him in this difficult phase of your life. You're in my prayers.

I agree, Joe. Those young people are definitely heroes. Hope all yours come back safely.

Hello Ayannali! Yes ... let's you and I start flying first class just so we can give our seats to soldiers. :) Great idea! Thanks for visiting.

Thanks, Bonnie, Donna and Donna. Thanks for stopping by!

At 8/04/2005 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

maybe soldiers want more than a first class seat.maybe they want to go home.

At 8/06/2005 11:23 PM, Blogger QueenBee had this to say ...

As a frequent business traveler, I've come to recognize the exhaustion that is on the face of many road warriors. It was Friday evening and I was waiting to catch a flight home for a quick weekend. I sat with about 300 other road warriors waiting to catch one flight or another. The plane was overbooked and the announcer came over the PA saying, "We're overbooked.....we'll give you a free ticket...blah blah blah if you give up your seat blah blah blah and we'll put you on the first flight tomorrow morning." Road warriors wouldn't give up a ride home for a million dollars - especiall if it meant waiting until the next day. The announcement was made 3 times and no one went to the counter. Then the lady came back on the PA and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have 6 soldiers who have on a very short leave and are anxious to get home. Won't anyone give up their seat so they can have one more night with their families?" At least 50 people hurried to the desk. It was overwhelming and quite moving.

At 8/08/2005 10:07 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

To anonymous: the soldiers on this flight actually were coming home. But I know the point you're making. Although I'm sure some soldiers regret the choice they made when they sign up, the soldiers I know believe in what they're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some believe in it so much that they've asked for repeat tours of duty. They've spoken with (and sent back pictures of) civilians who thank and bless them for the aid they bring, and they're proud to be part of this rebuilding. Of course, those stories don't make the evening news. It's just not controversial enough.

Cindy--that is an amazing and touching story! You have to blog about that. Thanks for sharing it here.

At 8/08/2005 8:58 PM, Blogger *~Tey~* had this to say ...

Oh Shannon. That must of made you feel so upset. I know it would make me upset. It's not right to make a list of lies and someone faults. I don't know you very well, but I feel like I'm getting to know you better by reading your blog and I can tell you're a beautiful person and I know that if I were to meet you face-to-face that I would love talking to you. I think we'd get along great...God Bless you Shannon and your posts are so inspiring and often speak to me. While others might bring negativity about you I can only bring positivity about you.
Thank Shannon for speaking into my life, even if you never realized you did.
Luv Kristy

At 8/14/2005 7:10 PM, Blogger Jeffrey W. Bennett had this to say ...

We need more men of action. Often we are deterred and our plans thwarted.

Thanks for sharing stories of real heroes in action.


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