On a resent flight with my family I was walking my nearly two-and-a-half year old daughter down the aisle to our seats. These days we select to sit in the very last row of the plane in an attempt to not annoy too many passengers when the kids are restless.
As we were boarding, Anabelle was leading the way down the aisle and as she did so she was making a point of saying hello to every person she passed. Aside from being super cute I found it interesting to watch the reactions of our fellow passengers as Anabelle said hello. The general reaction was one of complete shock and surprise that someone actually said hello to them on an airplane!
I don’t know about you but for me it seems that the standard etiquette on an airplane is to sit down, face forward and try not to bother anyone else around you – which includes saying hello. Of course we usually give a smile and the occasional ‘hi’ to those we’re sharing a row with, but overall we don’t talk to each other, the rule seems to be quite clear that you keep to yourself. And that’s fair enough I guess.
However it was great to see Anabelle shake this all up simply by being a happy child that wanted to greet her fellow passengers. There were one or two who gave her a huge smile and bent down to talk to her. There were those that simply ignored her with a bothersome look on their face (the kind that says “oh great a kid on the flight, they better not be noisy…”). And then there were those that were totally taken by surprise and had to double take, “did I really hear someone say hello to me?” and by the time they turned around to see who it was, Anabelle had moved on to greeting the next person down the aisle.
It’s amazing how one simple gesture in a situation where it’s unexpected can make such a difference… It made the plane a nicer place even if only for a moment and made me wonder when the last time was that I had done something to brighten someone else’s day.
It’s the little things, the simple things, that can make all the difference – when was the last time you said ‘hello’ and brightened someone’s day?