Jewish World Review
Nov 18, 2011
/ 21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772
Soldier finds friends in high places
I'd racked up five hours of delays, missed a connecting flight
and had been in airport terminals so long that I smelled like one
- black coffee with a hint of fryer grease.
"I'm getting on that plane," the man next to me said. He was
also flying standby.
"I thought I was, too, but now I'm not so sure," I said. "They
keep saying the flight is full."
"They just sold me a standby ticket, so I think there will be
room," he said. "I've been away for four months working and I'm
"What kind of work takes you away from home four months at a
time?" I asked.
I should have noticed the tan, buzzed hair and thick neck.
"Two weeks R&R?" I asked.
"Nope. Only three days. Then back to work for another four months."
"Did you tell the gate agent you're military?" I asked.
"Naw," he said. "Nobody cares. I don't even fly in uniform anymore.
It's better not to."
If it came down to only one seat available and the two of us
were left standing, there was no way I was getting on that plane.
"Twenty-two years," he said. "I'm getting out soon."
The final ticketed passenger boarded and the gate agent called
the man forward. She made some chicken scratches on his ticket then
beeped him through. He glanced over his shoulder as he headed down
the jet way. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up.
A few more names were called and then mine. I was going home,
I was given one of the last remaining seats, which happened to
be in first class. At 5-foot-2 I needed the extra space in first
class as much as the pilot needed me in the cockpit messing with
the instrument panel.
I caught the attention of a flight attendant. "There's a man
on this plane in a maroon sweatshirt and green cap that is military
going home on a three-day leave. Can you spot him, because if he's
in coach, I'd like to switch seats with him."
She looked around and said, "Is that him?"
He was in first class as well, in the second row, by the window.
She rearranged bags in the overhead bin above his row and casually
said, "Three-day leave, huh?"
Then she walked to the front of the aircraft, took the microphone
and said, "Good evening, we have a special guest on board tonight.
We have an active duty member of the military with us this evening.
Sadly, he only has a three-day leave, but why don't we show him
that we appreciate -"
If she said anything else, nobody could hear it. The plane erupted
with clapping, cheers and shouting.
When it quieted down, a few moments passed and then a strong
voice simply said, "Thank you all."
I would never blatantly contradict a career military man, so
let me just say you were mistaken, sir. People do care.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Catching Christmas" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
© 2009, Lori Borgman