When Tricia Belstra boarded her Southwest Airlines flight on August 18th, her heart was filled with nothing but grief and sadness. She had just lost her son and was traveling to take care of his final arrangements. Little did she realize that, before the flight was over, she would be uplifted and encouraged by a random stranger’s similar tale.
A parent never expects a child to die before she does, yet it had happened to Tricia, and she was understandably distraught over this unwelcome departure from the natural order. As her flight to see her son for the last time progressed, Tricia’s distress became obvious to one of the flight attendants, who inquired about how she was doing. After Tricia shared that she was on a journey to bury her son, the flight attendant offered his condolences. These few words barely scratched the surface, however, of what the man apparently had in his heart for this woman.
Though the flight was certainly one of the longest of her life, Tricia managed to maintain her composure as well as could be expected. At the end of the flight, Tricia began gathering her belongings in preparation for disembarking. The same flight attendant who had spoken to her earlier, offered his assistance. He took this opportunity to slip her a folded-up napkin, while again expressing his sorrow about her loss.
It wasn’t until Tricia had exited the plane that she had a chance to read the words scribbled on that napkin.
With a simple act of compassion, this anonymous Southwest Airlines employee managed to let the grief-stricken mother know that she was not alone. By relating his personal story about his own brother’s untimely passing, this caring stranger let Tricia know that she would get through this devastating turn of events. Although she never learned this sweet angel's name, it is certain that she will never forget his kind gesture.
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