BUSINESS LIFESTYLE OPINION TRAVEL WORK + FAMILY

Extra Seat

Taken by Stephanie Arnett on October 3, 2021 | His reminder…

Due to last minute adjustments “in this thing called LIFE (said best in Prince’s voice)”, the conference I had booked (and paid for!!) six months ago, was circling the drain

After acknowledging my disappointment, I called to cancel my teammate’s flight. After forever on hold (under twenty minutes…), I gave the customer service rep my sob story

With empathy, the rep told me the cancellation window had passed, and that she could not do anything. She did give me a tip “off the record”, and suggested that I email in a formal request to the airline

With a small glimmer of hope, I crafted a well written request for a travel voucher (vs refund, her words). Several days passed, and nothing. Finally, on the last day, I received a two line typed response: “Your request has been denied. See below for your purchase agreement” **insert one hundred paragraphs of legal mumbo jumbo**

Aggravated, I LOUDLY deleted the email (I purchased a typewriter sounding keyboard, just for these moments)

Fast forward a few days…

As I checked in for my flight, the app asked if I would like to “check in” all parties? Ouch. A gentle reminder of the hundreds of dollars, circling the drain

Then it hit me!! You know what? Yes, yes I would. I am going to waste one seat on this flight, just because I am petty, and you “owe” me

A smirk crossed my face, and I walked with my head held a little higher. I was going to show them!! (You know, the major airline that gives ZERO about my pettiness, or my small wallet)

On the day of travel…

I arrived to the airport early. I like to say that I am prepared, but Will says that I have issues…

I sat back, breathed a sigh of relief, and started to people watch. A Dad, playing with his daughter. A single guy, playing on his phone

*Whoosh* A child ran past. Girl? Boy? I turned to watch. *Whoosh* Another child ran by. I quickly turned my head – now I can see them. TWINS?! They’re around four years old, a girl AND a boy!!

I looked around for the Mom, and spotted her quickly. She was doing her best to keep them calm, but without much luck. Defeat was plastered on her face

I giggled, a little because they were cute, but mostly because they were not my problem. I leaned back into my seat, turned on my white noise, and chilled

Boarding time…

I get through the line quickly. I see the twins waiting off to the side, and assume the Mom will board last (energetic kids, and all)

The Mom gets called to the front. I am standing in the line beside her, so I hear every word. “Ma’am, we can get the children on this flight, but not you.” I pause (yes, I am nosy, and want to hear the rest). “Thank you, but there is no one for them at the end of the flight. We will keep waiting”

With a soft smile, she said “Come on kiddos, this is not our flight”

I watched, slightly confused, as they skipped off after her. No anger, no frustration, just a soft smile, and a gentle hand for the kids

I asked the attendant what happened. She hesitated – she wanted to tell me, but couldn’t. She just smiled and said “We are trying to get them home as soon as possible, and our flights are full”

I asked “So, you have two seats, but they need three?”. She nodded. Apparently, the family had been there for hours. Hopeful with every flight, they waited for the same attendant to call them to the front, only to be let down each time

In that moment, I felt Him. My heart fluttered, and my pettiness was shoved aside. “I paid for two seats, please give her one”

The attendant stared at me blankly…. “Are you sure? Do you know her? Why would you do that? What do you want for the seat?” I smiled, handed the attendant the second pass, and boarded the plane

I found my seat, and watched as everyone else settled in. On the final boarding call, Mom & the twins stepped inside. The excitement on their faces was obvious, but there was still defeat on Mom’s

I watched as they made their way towards my seat. Mom whispered to the attendant. Confused, the attendant shook her head “no”. Mom and the kiddos kept walking

Mom spoke to a man in a row by himself, and he looked confused, and shook his head “no”. Mom and the kiddos kept walking

They made it to my row, and asked if they could sit. Mom kept her finger over her mouth for “shhh…”, and the twins watched her every move. She got them settled in, and went to her seat

She looked around, confused. I watched, and we made eye contact. As she looked at me, she asked “Was it you?”

I nodded

I don’t know if it was relief, or sheer exhaustion, but tears slowly filled her eyes. She pulled her mask down, shared her beautiful smile, and whispered “Thank You”

He provided, and I received a gentle reminder ❤️

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