I have spent the last several days in meetings with a group of the nicest people you could imagine. They are people who are kind, genuine, down to earth, and generous beyond measure and it was refreshing and invigorating to be surrounded by people who have a mutual passion for helping others. There is something very powerful about a group of people with a shared desire to change the world for the better.
As I entered the airport today to fly back to Salt Lake the first person I encountered was at the ticket check-in gate. She smiled and offered me a piece of candy from a candy bowl. My husband immediately put his hand in the bowl and fished out the very last watermelon Jolly Rancher from the bowl and quickly popped it in his mouth. Well I haven’t had a watermelon Jolly Rancher since I was a little kid (…I actually remember riding bikes down to the neighborhood 7-11 after earning 10 cents for doing chores all excited to buy myself a watermelon Jolly Rancher stick and I hadn’t thought about one in years!…). I immediately expressed my disappointment that my husband had taken the last one. By the time the agent printed out our boarding passes another ticketing agent who had been nearby leaned across the counter and handed me an entire handful of watermelon Jolly Ranchers! I was thrilled. I was filled with happy childhood memories as I popped that watermelon Jolly Rancher into my mouth. Life was good…
Then after going through the security, we were sitting at our gate waiting for our flight to begin boarding when the gate agent’s voice came on the overhead announcement system and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen I am Andrea… and this is my coworker Lisa…who is supposed to be helping me….” Everyone at the gate in the terminal instantly busted out laughing…it was just such a fun and unexpected announcement. Then the gal came back on the overhead announcement and said “for those of you who don’t know us, Lisa and I are best friends…” Everyone chuckled again and we began boarding our flight.
When we got to our seats the man in the aisle seat in front of us turned and smiled and said hello and made some pleasant small talk. He got buckled in when an extremely overweight man came down the aisle way toward the empty seat in his row. It was obvious this man needed two seats for himself but he had only booked the one. He looked past the man sitting to the empty window seat and it was obvious he was concerned about being able to get into it. The man seated on the aisle seat immediately offered to switch him seats. He scooted over and buckled in and raised the arm rest without saying a word as he knew this other man couldn’t fit into the one seat. That man seated in front of us was clearly aware he was going to be squished for the next few hours of the flight but he recognized this other man was feeling uncomfortable so rather than worrying about himself he did everything he could to make the overweight man feel comfortable by making friendly conversation to ensure he knew he was okay.
As we sat on the plane waiting to take off I couldn’t help but think about what a difference nice people in this world make. Whether it is nice people coming together to donate their time and resources to help change the world for the better, or the nice person doing the simple act of handing someone a watermelon Jolly Rancher, or it’s the nice person making a fun comment to make people chuckle, or the nice man making someone feel more comfortable…I just have to say this – NICE PEOPLE ARE AWESOME!
~Amy Rees Anderson