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Kindness Korner

Giving Up a Good Seat 4 a Stranger

Kare Koach gets Kaught on the way to Kona
by K.O.K. (Koach of Kindness)

Our entire family, including the grandchildren, was on the plane. We were on the way to Kona, Hawaii. It was our treat, celebrating forty years of marriage. I was especially happy about my seat assignment. It was part of the Exit Row and on the aisle. That added space is crucial for my 6’6” frame, on a flight of five hours.
Shortly after we had leveled off at around 36, 000 feet the lady next to me asked if I would mind trading seats with her husband who was seated in back. “Oh no,” I thought, “how does care and kindness handle this?”

I quickly decided to speak honestly. “I’d rather not,” I replied. “My six foot six height really needs the leg room.” I reasoned that the likelihood her husband was my size was slim. “Okay” she said. “Since we are on our honeymoon I was hoping we could sit together,” she added.

“Oh no”! Her footnote hit me like a ton of guilt. How do I respond to that? What a dilemma! On the one hand squeezing into a conventional seat was nearly impossible for me to endure. On the other hand here was a touching personal need I could make right. On the one hand I was to her an anonymous stranger. On the other hand I was the Koach of Kare and Kindness. I didn’t have to do anything, but I felt I had to do something.

I sat in silence, thinking and squirming, for at least five minutes. Finally I said, “tell your husband he can come up and sit here for two hours.” “No, that’s alright,” she replied. I pushed my offer, “that way you can enjoy dinner together, wouldn’t you like that?” Clearly I had hit a soft spot.

“Okay,” she finally said, and hopped out of her seat and went back to talk with him. In a couple of minutes they were back together to accept the proposal. He told me his seat number. It turned out to be in the very back row of the plane; the worst seat in the plane. It wouldn’t even lean back, it was so tight against the wall. There was even less than average knee room. But the deal was made, and by this time forty minutes of the flight out over the ocean had passed. Two hours would be tolerable. After that I could stretch for the final hour and thirty minutes.
Sure enough, exactly on the two hour minute the man came back for the seat exchange. And I felt warm all over.

Our family had observed the whole transaction. Some were astounded that I would give up that precious Exit Row seat, at all. Others could not believe I would not give it up completely, that I kept two hours for myself. All were tickled by the whole deal. Especially me-and I hope the newlyweds.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful demonstration, Jim.
    You are more than the Koach.
    You set the example by your own actions.