First I want to say my boss is awesome. She doesn't know that this blog exists, so that statement wasn't made to get myself promoted (wouldn't work with her anyway - I'd have to actually do a good job for that), but because she's really a singular woman. Come to think of it, I've really had amazing luck with my bosses, and over the past 8 years they've all been women.
My current boss returned today from a business trip with many stories to tell - mainly about her travel experiences. Within about half an hour I had enough material for an entry into a travel guidebook. The one that gave me the most pause did so because it made me think about myself and my inclination to judge a certain type of person - rich, apparently privileged young people - especially women (I know I know - "meee-OW!!!!") - it gave me pause.
My boss was sitting next to a young, obviously rich, woman in her mid-twenties who was chatting away into her cell phone while the plane was getting ready to taxi. "Daddy won't give me the Leer jet this weekend!" she was complaining (and I'm not making this up). "I'm so mad at him right now, I don't think I'll speak to him."
My reaction to this conversation would have been to roll my eyes and diminish her to a princess who felt she was entitled to everything, never had to work a day in her life, handed everything on a silver platter, blahblahblah...
if i didn't know what had transpired 2 minutes before.
The ramp had been removed from the plane and the crew was getting ready to take off when the ramp was suddenly returned. A man who had almost-to-no use of his legs, wearing thick, heavy leg braces dragged himself up the ramp with his heavy crutches, refusing the aid of a wheel chair, determined to get to his seat himself. My boss was the only one with a seat open next to her, so she moved over to the window.
When he got to the top of the ramp, it became obvious that he would not be able to make it to where the open seat was. It was located about halfway down the small, narrow jet, and the aisle was too narrow for him to maneuver. The flight attendant asked if someone in the front row (mind you this is coach seating) would mind moving.
Apparently, they all did mind, because nobody moved. They left this guy standing right in front of them, holding himself up on his crutches while they avoided his eyes and waited for someone else to speak up. Someone did, but it wasn't one of them.
A young woman on her cell phone in first class spoke up and offered him her seat, stood aside so he could get past, and made her way to sit next to my boss while resuming her conversation as though this were the most everyday occurence...
Now mind you, if I'd been sitting in the front row there's no way in hell I'd have left that guy standing there, and I'm sure there were many apalled people sitting further back who were wishing they were sitting up front because they would have gotten up immediately upon seeing him struggling up the ramp to offer him their seat. This woman is not a saint, but she certainly is graceful, and the fact that her daddy with the Leer jet won't be hearing from her this week will probably cause him no small amount of regret. He raised a good kid. She certainly taught me a lesson in grace.