When I get on a plane I will nod and smile, if someone nods and smiles at me. I’m usually all business. I get to my row, stow my bag, sit down — and work until boarding finishes.
I’m a “speak only if spoke to” kind of guy on a plane. I’ll never strike up a conversation unless I see someone in distress (“can I help you put your bag in the overhead?” “I overheard you’re worried about your connection…”).
We’re all trapped together in a metal tube. Flying has become an increasingly small-d democratic experience. Planes are full. Tensions can run high as our different habits, speech, and even odors intrude onto our neighbors. Add a too hot cabin or a flight delay? Someone with their own emotional baggage to bring on board (airlines haven’t figured out a way to charge for that yet) and we can rub each other raw.
And yet it’s still possible, if we put down our guard, to be a little bit friendly and human towards each other which is why I loved this story posted to LinkedIn:
I was on a commercial flight recently and there was a little girl boarding the aircraft (slowly) ahead of me with her mom. I noticed that as she moved down the cabin, people were laughing and talking to each other.
I listened a little closer and realized she was asking each row of passengers, “Are you going to get married?” She must’ve been on her way to a wedding, but the responses she was getting were beyond funny. I heard answers like, “Never again”, “Been there, tried that”, “I’m already married”, “Not yet…” and “No way”!
She made people blush, laugh and talk to each other. Since she was seated towards the back of the airplane, she changed the mood of an entire cabin full of weary travelers with a not so simple question. Never underestimate the power of one little girl…
It’s not the first time a young girl has shown us the way that small interactions can make all the difference to the people we touch on our travels.