Quick story from a plane flight in 2014


March 4, 2014

As I write this, I am on a plane to Seattle, planning to meet with some of the biggest companies in America. It’s my duty to talk to them about business continuity, and that’s a pretty important job.

I am wearing a nice suit, my shoes are polished and hair is gelled. I had priority boarding so I was in my cozy seat before any other passengers on the plane. My fancy iPad is out, and I’m reading a book called ‘think like a billionaire’. I couldn’t be more important, and I find myself silently judging those around me.

When the food/drinks cart stopped in my isle, I heard the lady next to me buy a sandwich. I thought to myself, who would want a crappy $15 sandwich when we’ll be landing in about an hour? She’s clearly overpaying for average plane food.

But when the stewardess handed her the sandwich, she leaned forward and extended her arm to the row in front of us. She offered the sandwich to a lady in front of us, who had a child that was hungry. The child had been saying that they were hungry, and the mother told the kid she didn’t have any money for food right now. Everyone sitting around us went dead silent as the mother accepted the sandwich and said a very sincere thank you. It was one of the kindest things I’ve seen in my life. I wish I could take a photo of this mothers face – it would bring you to tears.

Man what a change in attitude I have now!…. Instead of thinking about how to win my meetings, get rich, or how important I am in life, I’m now thinking about how I can help others around me. Does the teenager next to me want to play games on my ipad? Does the stewardess need me to collect all the trash in my row? Does she need a smile and a thank you? Does anyone need help with their baggage when we get off? Does the pilot need help landing the plane? ๐Ÿ™‚


This is an email I wrote 6 years ago to my parents.

Sometimes I need a reminder to pull my head out of my own ass and listen to what’s happening around me.

The secret to joy in life is helping others. And today I’m going to focus on just that.

Have a good one,

4 thoughts on “Quick story from a plane flight in 2014

    • Thanks, Kim. Yeah I’m glad I found it in my old emails… I came across a similar situation the other day that reminded me of this story. I thought, I wonder if I kept that story to my parents from all those years ago?… Thanks to Gmail’s search feature I typed in “plane sandwich” and it showed up right away. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wonder how many other old email stories I can post.

  • Joel awesome story thanks for sharing it. I think sometimes its so easy to get caught up in your world and all the priorities/duties we have to fulfill that we fail to notice those around us. By doing something small so small and that only take less than a minute i.e. lending someone a hand with their luggage, smiling at a strange etc that we can have lasting impact on a stranger and society as a whole.

    • Completely agree. It can be difficult to think of others when youโ€™re traveling in airports and on planes, because itโ€™s already a stressful situation for a lot of people. But ever since this experience Iโ€™ve kept an extra eye out on planes. The smallest things make a big impact to travelers!

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