The individual next to me on the flight asked for a children’s toy they were passing out to the small children. The attendant’s smile was a signal of hope. “Just a moment, let me see what we have.”
You could see the joy pass between them. One was happy that a want was going to be satisfied, the other in the business of service. One person made a difference in the life of another.
Hold this scene as we shift forward a few hours. I stood at the back of the plane stretching my legs. A young woman came up to the flight attendant. “Could I get one of the small toys you were passing out earlier?”
“The toys are for children. You need to either have some or fly more.”
I was stunned. The good will in one situation was not offset by the terrible taste in my mouth and the hurt look in the woman making the request. I am not sure what point the attendant was trying to make.
We can make a difference in what we do. I find it easy to believe that others, someone, will act when another has a want or need. At the same time, one person can act and tear at the good others have tried to build.
I listen to a writer recount his story; “And then I find that you bring your divisions to worship—you come together, and instead of eating the Lord’s Supper, you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 11.20) “You” in this case was unlikely all. Yet the acts of the few shaped the story of the many.
I wanted to do something about the toy, anything. The opportunity came on the way out. I spotted an unopened toy in a vacated seat with lots of children’s discards around it. Unopened, new, and looking for someone in need. It just took a quick reach, a short wait, and the opportunity to pass a gift from one stranger to another. Acts count.