While I sat consumed with my thoughts on the flight to Las Vegas for our wedding, the flight attendant was busy making crafts. You see, it turns out that there’s so much more to the job of flight attendant than making sure passengers are buckled up safely and know where the emergency exits are located. Some flight attendants take an interest in their passengers and go above and beyond to take care of them. Such was the case on our SouthWest Airlines flight.
When I heard the Bing! of the intercom and the flight attendant calling your Dad and I up to the front of the plane to stand next to her, I had no idea what was in store for us. I awkwardly moved to the front and soon found myself nervously facing a sea of expectant faces looking back at us. As we stood together, the flight attendant began announcing to everyone that we were on our way to Las Vegas to get married. The announcement was met with applause and cheers from our fellow passengers. Everyone seemed so happy to see us up there, a little bit of happy news that seemed to brighten the day. Who doesn’t love a celebration? As our fellow passengers cheered, I felt something get placed on the top of my head.
The flight attendant continued speaking. She said that in honor of the celebration she had made special crowns for us to wear. Jalen, she wasn’t kidding about the special crowns. Normally when you think of crowns, you probably think of gold crowns worn by royalty and adorned with jewels. Or maybe you’ll think of Burger King’s thin cardboard crowns that you can wear while eating a whopper. That is, assuming of course that’s still around by the time your read this. Either way, the crowns we wore were much better than either of these. We wore crowns made entirely of peanuts. Not actual peanuts per say but small individual serving size packages of peanuts.The kind a flight attendant will give you during your flight for a snack. The kind that are so good sometimes you just crave more.
Yes, on our heads were a crown of peanut snack packages, in between they were woven together by plastic red swizzle sticks with little read hearts on top. There we were, a crown of peanuts and swizzle sticks on our heads. The passengers laughed but that’s okay because if for only one day or for only one flight, we were royalty. Royalty that would not crave additional servings of peanuts on this flight. We could eat them right off the top of our heads. Ha Ha
Though, it didn’t end there. The flight attendant then arranged something quite meaningful and lovely for us. She arranged to have small slips of paper handed out to all of our fellow passengers and she requested that they write out a little bit of advice for us as we begin our lives as a married couple. Passengers began scribbling away as we made our way back to our seats. Several congratulated us and wished us well, others continued to laugh at our crowns of peanuts. A couple passengers noticed we were sitting separately from each other and very graciously insisted we all trade seats so I could sit with your dad for the remainder of our flight. There are a lot of kind people in this world.
Near the end of our flight, the flight attendant collected what others had written. She gave them to us as a gift and every free drink coupon she had that had been submitted by passengers on the flight (there were many) she gave to us to use on our flight to our honeymoon.
Jalen, as we grow old together at some point you’ll likely find yourself questioning what career to pursue in life. Maybe you’ll figure it out, maybe your career will be a pursuit of a variety of different things. Maybe you’ll have a passion and settle on one thing or maybe you’ll change your mind over and over again and feel you may never figure it all out. Your future career doesn’t make a difference to me, what matters is that you choose a path that is not harmful to others and whatever it is you choose, make sure to give it all you’ve got. Give it the best of what you have to give. If that means you want to be a waitress, be the best waitress your hungry customers have ever had the pleasure of having as their server. If this means you become a janitor, do your best to make sure no one else’s floors can sparkle as bright as yours. If you become a doctor, seek out every opportunity you can to find what your patients need and do your best to meet those needs. Whatever your profession, give it all that you’ve got.
You see, this flight attendant could have easily gone about her day fulfilling all the basic tasks of her job. She helped me store my gown in the overhead bin and that could have been the end of it. But she didn’t. Instead, she chose to go above and beyond. Instead of stopping there, she took notice of us and arranged an enjoyable experience for us which provided a memory we’ll forever cherish.
To some, this may only read as a silly crown of peanuts and some free drink coupons. I hope as you read this you’re able to see that this was so much more. Her small actions had ripple effects. She made so many passengers smile. It gave everyone a silly fun story to share with others as they departed the flight and got back to their day. Years later, it’s provided a chapter to a beautiful story I’m now writing for you. She made an example of the advice of giving your chosen profession your best. Her request for marriage advice gave passengers pause to self reflect, something each may not have done had she not prompted them to do so.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Some passengers wrote down witty bits of advice while others took the request more seriously and wrote out a paragraph of advice they felt important to share with us. We cherished each piece of advice given and we’ve saved every single one. You’ll find I’ve tucked away these slips for safekeeping for you to read through some day. You’ll also find that we didn’t, however, save the free drink coupons for you. Sorry, you’ll have to buy your own drinks. It was our wedding and honeymoon after all.