Jessica looked at everyone around her; cramped all in one small space with no leg room to move. She sighed – it was going to be a long flight, but as soon as she found her seat, she tensed up a little more. That day she knew she would be uncomfortable but did not expect how uncomfortable. As she started to make her way into the seat, a man came straight towards her and would not let her sit down. She had no idea why, but as soon as he opened his mouth, she knew, and she had to do something in return.
Jessica had been a military trainee for some time. All her training had prepared her for all kinds of situations, but still, when this man came striding towards her, all her training suddenly vanished from her brain. She was shaking. What was in store for her on that day, on that plane?
She was on her way home for the holidays; she craved seeing her family. It had been way too long since she had seen them and being far away had made her heart break a little each day. Still, she knew what she was doing was for her country and that was far more important to her. She grabbed her passport and headed towards the boarding gate, but as soon as she looked for her seat, she knew something that day was just not right.
Flights can be overwhelming, and some would say even scary. You are confined in a small space with little to no room to get comfortable, but still, it is the best way to travel from point A to point B in a short amount of time. And that is precisely what Jessica wanted. The day she boarded her flight, it was totally overbooked so she knew there would be no free seats for her to spread her legs or have more room. Little did she know, someone would grant her wish.
As a military officer, Jessica fights all the odds just to ensure that the country is safe, and we should all appreciate their efforts a little more. But on that day, one man, in particular, knew exactly what to do.
Even though we would all love to travel more comfortably, some just can’t. Business class and first class plane tickets are much more expensive than the economy seats are, so most of us are ensured a pretty uncomfortable flight. Jessica did not know that day she was not going to be as uncomfortable as she initially thought.
Dressed in uniform and her bag over her shoulder she made her way to the back of the plane. Her boarding pass stated she was in 31-B, so she had a way to go before she could be seated. As she entered the plane, she looked at the business class seats – they seemed so spacious and comfortable, but she could never afford them!
What She Didn't Know
While Jessica was looking for her seat, someone was quietly talking to the air hostess about her, but she had no idea. She kept tugging her belongings around until finally, the row of 31 seats approached. She grabbed her shoulder bag, stashed it in the overhead compartment, and sat down. But 10 minutes turned into 15, and then 20. It looked like this plane's takeoff was running late.
Jessica couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right on this flight. Usually, planes are delayed due to bad weather conditions, but today the skies were clear. She tried to find a flight attendant to ask about the delay, but there were none in sight. Then, she heard nervous whispering. What was going on?
Then, Jessica spotted the cabin crew, and they were acting strangely. There was a secretive flurry of activity as they all rushed to huddle in a corner of the plane. What was going on? Soon, she would realize that they were talking about one of the passengers. And that someone was suddenly moving towards her.
The flight attendants were giggling slightly, covering their faces with their hands. Something was happening and she didn't like it one bit. They were obviously talking about her. She was used to stares and whispers when she traveled in her uniform, but something was different about this situation. In the end, Jessica just decided to ignore it. But she couldn't help but feel on edge.
A Soldier's Eyes
Jessica was tired and muscles were knotted with tension, but her intensive training in the army had become muscle memory that she could access instantly if she needed to. She didn't want trouble today. Although she was off duty, she never knew when there would be a threat that she would have to neutralize. And that's when she noticed him.
The stranger was tall, and Jessica couldn't help but notice that he was rather handsome. He had fine features and sparkling blue eyes. He was neatly dressed in a suit and tie. She half-wondered if he was going to ask for her number, he was striding toward her with such confidence and purpose–she had seen it a hundred times. But all her training and life experience could never have prepared her for what he really wanted.
He moved purposefully towards Jessica, and her mind was racing. It seemed like an age before he reached her. Then the strange man did something that confirmed Jessica's suspicions. He opened his mouth to speak, and Jessica saw his intentions on his face. But then he said something totally unexpected.
The man took a step closer and gestured at her seat. Then, without skipping a beat he informed her that that seat was taken. Jessica looked around her, eyes wide, incredulous. How dare he? she thought. "I'm in your seat," he insisted. She had no idea what he was talking about. "What does your ticket say?" he asked, exasperated.
"What? No – I'm 31 B," Jessica said. She wasn't about to be fooled–her ticket clearly stated 31-B. She stood up and checked, and she knew she was right. She wasn't backing down. Who did this man think he was? And what game was he playing? She looked to the flight attendants for assistance, but they just nodded their heads.
But then the stranger explained; as she was a military officer, she couldn't have the seat. He told her that he admired that she was working hard every day to keep the people of America safe, but he needed her to sit somewhere else. Jessica patiently listened to his reasoning, but then she was completely blindsided.
The strange man said he would be obliged if she accepted his business class ticket as a thank-you gesture for the hard work she does every day. Jessica was shocked and tried to refuse the kind man's gesture, but he kept insisting. He gave her his seat, and she went up the way she came through the plane's little hallway.
She could not believe what had just happened, but as she saw the more spacious and comfortable seats, her body craved them. How could she ever repay him? As a military officer in training, she had been working for days on end. Her body was sore, and her muscles ached.
Jessica thought that all of her hard work would pay off once she arrived home and could finally rest, but then, the mystery man had given her the best gift she could ask for. Jessica could not stop thinking about the man who gave up his seat.
The kind man was broader and larger than she was, and if she was going to be uncomfortable in the little economy seats, she could not imagine how he would feel cramped up in there. She felt terrible, so she thought of something that might brighten his day.
She had no idea what she could do to make his flight more comfortable, she decided she would ask a flight attendant. Sadly, there was not much she could do; she could not send things from first class to economy. She had to think of something else, and she did.
That wonderful mystery man was probably very uncomfortable in his seat, but Jessica could not do anything about that as she knew that if she gave back his first class seat, he would completely refuse. She grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled something on it with a $20 bill attached and asked the stewardess to deliver it from her.
The man opened up the note, and his eyes widened; the note read: “If everyone treated people the way you treated the servicewoman, the world would be a better place.” She also asks the man to have some drinks and snacks on her. But of course, the man refused.
The mystery man did, however, send another note back to Jessica. And when she read it, she couldn't help but smile. He had declined her offer, but proposed that they meet when their flight lands and have dinner–on him. Was this a date? Jessica's stomach fluttered as she wrote another note back.
Of course, she accepted. The man's heartwarming gesture had endeared him to her completely. The pair met at a restaurant shortly after their plane landed, and Jessica forgot her weariness in all her excitement. She never expected anything to happen to her that was seemed right out of a fairytale, and on a plane, of all places!
Jessica had never thought that on her assumed-to-be bad day; she would get so much to cherish. But she did, and all thanks to this kind man! The man was overwhelmed about receiving the note and thanked her but still refused the money. Another person on the flight witnessed everything and had to share the story which soon went viral.
Another woman named Jessica Titus witnessed the whole thing, she had to share this incredible story about compassion and empathy. And she did. As soon as she posted the story, within the hour, more than 4000 people had shared it!
Tons of people came together and shared their similar stories. One woman named Kate Nixon said that someone did the same thing for her husband who too was in the army. While they were heading back from California, they were overwhelmed with such a gesture. What amazing people!
Bad Day Turned Good
People really do have heart, but we do not see it all that often. By sharing the story on social media, the anonymous man got appreciated and praised for a deed he did not want to be acknowledged for; he just did it from the goodness of his heart. We all need more people like that out there!