We hear so much about people behaving like jackasses. How about a little story that shows that human beings — even important, powerful, wealthy ones — can still show decency, and kindness?
The setting was Washington, D.C. A harried Mom was having a nightmarish travel day and thought that she had missed the last flight to Atlanta, where she was to pick up her daughter from summer camp. She was the next name on the standby list and the jetway doors were ready to close when she miraculously got a seat. The Good Samaritan was Richard Anderson, the CEO of Delta. He gave up his cabin seat and sat in a jump seat in the cockpit so the Mom could make it home. The grateful Mom, Jessie Frank, wrote about the story on her Facebook page; Delta confirmed it but hasn’t tried to capitalize on the good publicity.
Sure, I know — the cynics may wonder why the Delta flight was overbooked in the first place, and will point out that the CEO, unlike other passengers, had the means to use a cockpit seat that otherwise would be unavailable. So what? The fact is the man could have played the accustomed CEO/hyper-important person/Master of the Universe role, ignored the woman’s predicament, and kept his seat. The world would have been none the wiser. The fact that he did what he did says something good about him as a person, and the fact that Delta hasn’t tried to publicize the story says something good about Delta as a company.
If we want to encourage decent behavior we should recognize it. So here’s to Mr. Richard Anderson and the folks at Delta who helped out a Mom in need. A small gesture, perhaps, but one that brought a smile to my face.
The title to this post is a quote from the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. At the end of the film, after all of the other children have been eliminated from the competition by their own appalling character flaws, only Charlie remains — but Willy Wonka refuses to give Charlie the prize because his conduct in drinking the experimental cola allegedly violated the fine print on an elaborate contract. Grandpa Joe is outraged by this jerky behavior, but Charlie nevertheless returns to Willy Wonka a prototype everlasting gobstopper, even though Charlie has been told he could sell it to Wonka’s competitor, Slugworth, for riches untold. When Charlie returns the candy, Willy quietly says: “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
I was reminded of that statement by a good deed that we personally experienced this week. Last Friday we had a graduation card for Richard (with an enclosed gift) with us when we went to the outdoor graduation ceremony, but when we returned to the hotel room afterward we couldn’t find it. Kish was afraid we had left it on the bus in the mad scramble during the rainstorm. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. Earlier this week, I received a phone call from a manager at Chicago Classic Coach, the company that operated the bus, who reported that the bus driver had found the card and its contents and turned them in. The manager then found me on the internet, sent me an e-mail, and after verifying my identity returned the card to us by mail.
In a time when we often focus on the negatives, it is wonderful to be able to commend a company and an individual for doing a good deed. So, I say thank you to Chicago Classic Coach and the individual bus driver who found the card. I salute and very much appreciate your honesty and integrity! As I said to the manager, if I ever need a private coach in Chicago in the future, Chicago Classic Coach will unquestionably get my business — and I recommend it to anyone else who may need private coach transportation in Chicago, too.