Quite the “nerve” and “straightforwardness” of a flight attendant!
I received a bouquet of flowers from a flight attendant on trip from Honolulu to Salt Lake City yesterday.
Was it an act of kindness? A gesture of love? Was it that “Christmas time of year” sort of giving? Was it someone that I knew or that knew me from the past? Was she making an advance (quite doubtably)? Or perhaps all of the above are true.
As I waited to board the last leg of my flight schedule this week, headed to Salt Lake City direct from Honolulu, a few of our flight crew boarded the plane first and were noticeably carrying beautiful arrangements of flowers. The flowers were exquisite, both in fashion and assortment. It was obvious that somebody put a lot of time into creating such a beautiful piece of art. “Surely those weren’t cheap,” was my first thought.
I’ve purchased flowers for my wife in the past. Roses, lilies and arrangements that have looked AMAZING, but I have never seen flowers organized such detail and crafted together like these, at least packaged up in such an elaborate display, obviously with the intent to give to a special someone in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve witnessed firsthand the beautiful plant scape on the islands. But that’s just it- I’ve seen these beautiful flowers in gardens at the resorts as décor, or restaurants and lobbies of hotels. Of course, Hawaii is known for having a variety of colorful plant species that the states are not able to grow due to climate.
As I boarded my flight, I asked one of the familiar flight attendants I have known from past travels, Jeff Flores, “Why were 3 of his female colleagues carrying Hawaiian flower arrangements?” He began to explain that during the course of their many trips to Hawaii, they had become acquainted with a street vendor near their hotel that artistically crafts these arrangements together. The vendor is usually located outside of their hotel between nine and noon, before ‘selling out’. He went on to explain that the vendor is a favorite of many flight crews, and it’s not uncommon for them to purchase these flowers for their spouses and loved ones, especially during Christmas. Hence some of the crew “stashed up” on this trip! I asked, “Where is the vendor located and can they be ordered and delivered online?” Jeff told me that he did not think so, but he gave me the name of the hotel so that I could be on the lookout next time I go to Honolulu. That was the end of our conversation.
Six hours later we landed in Salt Lake City. As I exited the aircraft and began pushing my wheelchair up the jet bridge, Jeff shouted my name. Approaching me with one of those beautiful bouquets, he said that he had shared my inquisition with the flight crew. One of the flight attendants, Ms. Kim Cawdery, was insistent that I take a bouquet myself and give it to my wife. Apparently she has had me on one of her flights before and also read my book, although we have never formally met. Taken back in almost awkward fashion and prideful gratitude, I responded, “That’s not necessary, but I will definitely find that vendor when I go back to Honolulu next trip”. Jeff proceeded, “Kim insists that you take these, and thank you’re beautiful wife for the inspiration she is to many people she will never know of.” I certainly was not about to take this gift without paying at least something for them. They must have cost several hundred dollars, an amount I was happy to pay for and then some, as you can’t find flowers displayed like art such as this!
I waited at the top of the jet bridge for Kim and the rest of the crew to exit the aircraft. Before I could get a word out she came up to me, embraced me with a hug, and told me to please accept the bouquet and give them to my wife! “They will surely put a smile on her face”, she said. Kim would not take any money. She wouldn’t even consider it. She did give me a note and reiterated the inspiration she received from reading about my wife, Shondell, and the amazing angelic inspiration she has been in her life.
So I have decided to write about this experience and post it on my social media outlets. I don’t know how else to say thank you to Kim and her colleagues other than to share this selfless act with as many as will read it and be inspired by her selfless act of giving, charity, kindness, love and compassion.
It’s been one day since this experience, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the lessons I can learn from this. There is so much to soak in!
I am married to an absolutely selfless, beautiful loving companion. She truly is an inspiration to many people, but none more than me! I needed to be reminded of that as I fear I take my relationship with Shondell for granted. Amazing that somebody would want to recognize reward her for those rare characteristics without personally knowing her, yet help me be reminded of why I married my sweet girl in the first place!
Next, how often do flight attendants take complaints? How often do they deal with challenges? How often do they see unhappy passengers that are “delayed” , mad at another carrier, not happy with their seat assignment or did not get the ‘upgrade’? And in contrast, how often do you find a flight attendant that is willing to give a few hundred dollars (or it’s equivalent in value ) to an inquisitive passenger? Frankly, what she and the crew gave to me was worth much more than money!
I meet many wonderful flight attendants that would do anything for passengers. But what Kim did for a passenger yesterday is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in 14 years of consistent travel. It flipped on the light switch in my head that has been turned off for a little while. I needed the reminder that my wife and I need a date night! A date night on a regular basis!
There are so many different lessons and thoughts from yesterday still going through my head. I would love to hear your comments and how this act of giving has affected you.
I would wrap up this journal entry with one last thought…Do we have a passion for people more than our jobs? Are you going to sacrifice in order to make others have a better day or put a smile on somebody’s face, albeit a complete stranger? Are we willing to make others feel loved as Kim did myself and my wife? Just look at Shondell’s face in the photograph. You can see what a simple act of kindness will do!
Kim, crew and Delta- Thank you for making my holiday season so much better. Thank you for helping me remember the unique individual I get to call my wife. Thank you for doing more than just handing out drinks and the regular Biscoff Cookies. You are also much more than “regular” to me!
Chad L. Hymas
Passenger 4B Delta flight #1104
December 9, 2015