Yesterday I was reminded of an incident that took place on the plane when Mike and I were flying back from Las Vegas last month after our 15 hour vacation.
If you read my blog you already know that Mike was terribly sick in Las Vegas, and we turned around and came home after a sleepness night in a hotel in Vegas. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to get Mike home safely, and after throwing up all night he was absolutely exhausted. At 3am I was able to change our flights to come home, and we flew home on no sleep the day after we had flown out there. It was obviously a very stressful couple of days, and Mike was very sick.
When we were on the plane sitting about 3 rows behind us was a family of three with a young toddler. The child cried pretty much the whole way home. He was sitting on his moms lap, and she passed him to the dad who was sitting next to her when he became unmanageable. I remember looking back at them, and feeling compassion for them. They were trying to console him, trying to get him to stop crying. I felt so badly for them, I was hopeful they could feel my sympathy and compassion from three rows up.
When we landed in Detroit, we went to the baggage claim area. We happened to be standing next this family, and the baby was still whining in his stroller. This really unattractive man and his equally unattractive wife were also standing next to us. The woman turned to this poor mother, and said “OMG after 3 hours of listening to this on the plane, can you please take that kid out of here.” My heart broke for the poor mother. She got this terrified look on her face, and stepped back away from the baggage claim area, as if to protect her child from this horrible, ugly woman. I wanted to say something to the angry couple standing there, feeling justified in their hatred of the poor family just trying to get to Detroit like the rest of us. I couldn’t say anything to them, because I was barely holding it together myself, and honestly I just couldn’t. Mike and I both felt badly for the poor family with the toddler,and we moved away from the angry couple, although many around us were shaking their heads in agreement at their comments.
I was reminded of this incident when I read through the facebook page of a local family that lost their little boy yesterday to cancer at 5 years old. I read of an incident that they had last month on a plane coming back from Disney when their sick child cried on the plane, and how the mother wanted to scream out to people that were staring at her that her child has a brain tumor, and to stop staring at them. They have received thousands of messages of condolences on their facebook page. I am sure they would trade at least some of those messages of condolences, some of the messages of prayer, for even one person showing them compassion and kindness on that flight back from Disney with their sick,dying little boy. I don’t pretend to even think I can understand the terrible grief that this family is dealing with today. I think we are united though in our feeling that you can’t go wrong with kindness towards other people.
People ask me all the time what they can do to help us. You know what you can do? You can be kind even when you don’t feel it. Especially when you don’t want to be. Kindness is free. In this season of giving..