Author and speaker, Susan Smith Jones, shares this story traveling through an airport.
I was leaving Portland, Oregon, to fly to Los Angeles. Because of stormy weather, most flights were delayed, and some were canceled. The airport was crowded with unhappy travelers, so I was delighted that for some reason my flight was scheduled to leave on time. As they announced the final boarding, I noticed a harried man running up to the counter with his briefcase in one hand and his ticket in the other. The ticket agent said that unfortunately his reservation had been cleared and his seat given away. She told him politely and kindly that she would do everything she could to get him a seat on a later flight. Her response was clearly not acceptable to him as reflected by his inappropriate behavior.
He went ballistic. Everyone in the surrounding terminalarea could hear the din of his frustration. He had an important meeting in Los Angeles, and he had to get there. I couldn’t help but feel for him, because I’ve been in similar situations where I couldn’t afford to miss a flight, but everybody felt sorry for the ticket agent, especially when in his tirade he yelled out that he wanted to see a supervisor.
All of a sudden, a woman who appeared to be in her seventies walked up to this man and said that she wasn’t in a hurry and would be happy to give him her seat. As you can imagine, the man stopped right in his tracks. It almost looked as if he was about to cry. He apologized to her, to the ticket agent, and to everyone around for his behavior and thanked the woman for being an angel in his life. He boarded the flight smiling, relieved, and much wiser! What a blessing for the lovely woman, too. The man never knew it, of course, but the airline got her on another flight just three hours later and also gave her a free, first-class, round-trip ticket to any destination served by the company. So she was truly twice blessed.
It reminds me of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount –
You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. -Matthew 5:43-48 NLT
Anyone can be kind to a helpless child in need. Anyone can share with a not-so-rough looking single mother. Anyone can drop a bit of change in the bell-ringers bucket on the corner. Even a total sinner will do that!
How are you treating the gossiping co-worker next to you at lunch? How are you responding to the foul-mouthed foreman on the job site? How are you acting at the counter of the service provider in no way lived up to their responsibilities?
These are opportunities to truly shine the love of Jesus.
As you accept the challenges this month of March Kindness, I challenge you to not just show kindness to those who “deserve” it. Anyone can do that.