A Smile on a Flight

November 24, 2011 — Leave a comment

November 24, 2011

Consider this my Thanksgiving inspired article… the story happened Thursday a week ago, but I thought it was perfectly suited to talk about today. With this, I honor all breast cancer survivors… you gals rock!!

It’s the little moments in life that add up and make it all worth living. One of the best seconds can be when you realize you might have a chance with the girl of your dreams; one of the worst can be when one of the most important people in your life moves on. Your life is a compilation of these moments that vacillate between the unintended and the intentional. What you do with these moments and how you react to the unintended is what makes you.

On a late night flight from San Francisco to New Orleans, a seat mate recognized a smile of our flight attendant that was more than a courtesy. To me, it was just a normal smile. However, to my seat mate it was the truth.

As the script of these moments progressed, the actors went from normal life to something almost inconceivable. Something motivated my seat mate to pull out at $20 bill to give the flight attendant; this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone tip a flight attendant. Well, besides the numerous times people give them “tips” on where they can go, and where they can shove things!

She reluctantly accepted the tip, and I thought the uniqueness of that moment was done. It would live on as an interesting occurrence that might someday flash across my mind and inspire me to do something as crazy and unique.

Nope, the moment wasn’t ready to retire. He inquired about a glove she was wearing that turned out to be a compression glove that helps prevent her hand from swelling. The swelling is caused by a glandular issue that resulted from the mastectomy she recently experienced while battling breast cancer.

They discussed the wigs she wore and how they provided her with the closest thing to normalcy during her most un-normal time. She wore long and short wigs of various styles and colors that couldn’t mask her most unexpected smile during her troubled times.

The smile persisted past the cancer that could have triumphed. She’s three years past the procedure and credits her strengths and optimism to helping her triumph. She maintains her smile, and I can believe it’s even bigger now than it was before the cancer.

“Death, as we say, is the king of terrors; and the man who has conquered the fear of death, is not likely to lose his presence of mind at the approach of any other natural evil. In war, men become familiar with death, and are thereby necessarily cured of that superstitious horror with which it is viewed by the weak and unexperienced. They consider it merely as the loss of life, and as no further the object of aversion than as life may happen to be that of desire. They learn from experience, too, that many seemingly great dangers are not so great as they appear; and that, with courage, activity, and presence of mind, there is often a good probability of extricating themselves with honor from situation where at first they could see no hope.” – Adam Smith

She extricated herself with honor and a smile.

What are you doing with your moments? Would you recognize a smile on a flight as something more?

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