It's rare to see a "feel-good" story these days, and during the 2016 political season, few such stories of kindness absent agenda will be mentioned, much like Chick fil A's immediate response to the Pulse Night Club shooting.
However another one is circulating today - grab a tissue. After the tragic shooting in Orlando, one grandmother had to travel to be with family. Jet Blue employees and a plane full of strangers showed her compassion beyond compare. One Jet Blue employee, Kelly Davis Karas, shared the story on Facebook:Chick-fil-A opening on a Sunday to feed Orlando shooting responders and blood donors is A+ https://t.co/Hun8heOfs3 pic.twitter.com/QSnGwunuQ3— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 14, 2016
Okay - so the part about mass assault weapons is a tad ignorant and could be considered an agenda, but I don't think that motivated this flight attendant's post. And . . . well, to cut the last two paragraphs would be rather agendish on my part.Below is a picture of Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. Omar, as his friends and family called him, was a Latino man gunned down at an LGBTQ bar in Orlando last weekend. He was 20-years-old.Today my dear friend Melinda and I had the sad privilege of attending to his grandmother on our flight as she made her journey to Orlando to join her family during this unspeakable time.Knowing she was making this hard journey alone, JetBlue employees made sure to be at her side every step of the way. Melinda stood quietly by her wheelchair while we waited until it was time to board. Kellie, the gate agent, boarded with her and helped get her settled. Melinda and I gave her a blanket, a pillow, a box of tissues and water so she could be as comfortable as possible. She was understandably distraught, but met us with kindness and gentleness. And gratitude.But here's where our flight got truly inspiring. I had the idea to pass around a piece of paper to everyone on board and invite them to sign it for this grieving grandmother. I talked it over with Melinda and she started the process from the back of the plane. As we took beverage orders, we whispered a heads up about the plan as we went.Halfway through, Melinda called me, "Kel, I think you should start another paper from the front. Folks are writing PARAGRAPHS." So I did. Then we started one in the middle. Lastly, running out of time on our hour and fifteen minute flight, we handed out pieces of paper to everyone still waiting.When we gathered them together to present them to her, we didn't have just a sheet of paper covered in names, which is what I had envisioned. Instead, we had page after page after page after page of long messages offering condolences, peace, love and support. There were even a couple of cash donations, and more than a few tears.When we landed, I made an announcement that the company had emailed to us earlier in the morning to use as an optional addition to our normal landing announcement, which states "JetBlue stands with Orlando." Then with her permission and at the request of a couple of passengers, we offered a moment of silence in Omar's memory.As we deplaned, EVERY SINGLE PERSON STOPPED TO OFFER HER THEIR CONDOLENCES. Some just said they were sorry, some touched her hand, some hugged her, some cried with her. But every single person stopped to speak to her, and not a single person was impatient at the slower deplaning process.I am moved to tears yet again as I struggle to put our experience into words. In spite of a few hateful, broken human beings in this world who can all too easily legally get their hands on mass assault weapons - people ARE kind. People DO care. And through our customers' humanity today, and through the generosity of this wonderful company I am so grateful to work for, I am hopeful that someday soon we can rally together to make the world a safer place for all.