Three Strangers on a Plane, Sharing

On my last plane flight from LA to Dallas in June to join husband Ray who was already in Texas, I sat in the window seat of my Southwest flight with two young men in the seats next to me. We were all masked per federal rules, and, unlike most trips when I say only a cursory hello to my seatmates, we fell into immediate conversation. Over the course of 2 1/2 hours, we each shared details about our lives, how Covid had affected us, our work, passions, and activities that brought us joy. One young man was Jewish and the other Latino and there I was old enough to be at least their mother and perhaps even their grandmother.

When we were leaving at the end of the flight, we stepped into the airport and stopped. One young man said, “Wow, this feels like a movie. I’ve just made two great friends and now we have to say goodbye.” We didn’t hug because of Covid, but we exchanged Facebook information with each other. We promised we’d see each other online. Since that time, they have indeed sent friend requests and I’ve accepted. This reminds me of another conversation at least ten years ago I had with a young man on a flight who is still my Facebook friend and I have recently noted that he’s found the absolutely perfect young woman to join him in life.

This recent experience (and the other one, of course,) makes me feel happy about life in general and young people in particular. These young men couldn’t have been more open, kind, attentive and generous to me and to each other. Each shared, listened, and kept moving the conversation deeper and deeper. Before it was over, I knew that one was ready for a career change and the other was viewing the world from a more open spiritual perspective. I assured the one young man not to sell his intellect short. He was clearly bright and had all sorts of options he could consider. As for the other, we agreed that religion could be broader than orthodoxy and that living a life motivated by love was the key.

How lucky for me to stumble upon this two sterling examples of youth, grappling with life in his own way and being willing to share some of those challenges with two strangers. Without Covid-19 and its isolation, I’m not sure that conversation would have ever happened. We were, after all, three people starved for connection with others from the outside world.

What a joyful experience that was! I hope to watch on Facebook as their lives move forward. Both deserve the very best that life can bring. They clearly are ready to share their kindness and decency with the world. How fortunate for me that on that particular day, I was the lucky recipient of their time and was treated as a friend.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. judyalter says:

    Len, I’m quite sure those young men shared with you–and you tapped into their deepest truths–because you are such an open and sharing person. What a tribute to you! It made me so happy to read about this encounter.

    1. Thank you, Judy. That is very kind of you to say. Big hugs.

  2. marianbeaman says:

    What an inspiring post, Lenn. Shared experiences, even trauma, makes us open to new relationships. You initiated a show of empathy in this encounter. Brava for the results!

    1. Thank you, Marion! Much appreciated.

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