Apr 292013 3 Responses

The Day I Stole an Airline Ticket to See Jenny

Life is best lived in gratitude.

When Jenny and I were first married, I was in graduate school in Alabama. A friend called me and invited me to play in a golf tournament in Philadelphia, but we wouldn’t get back until the day of our first anniversary. Having been married less than a year, I was foolish enough to ask if I could go to the tournament. Despite my foolishness, Jenny said I should go.

I flew to Philadelphia, played golf for a couple of days, and on our anniversary headed home. I took a short flight from Philadelphia to Newark and then would fly from Newark to Atlanta from where I would drive back to Alabama. However, when I landed in Newark it was extremely foggy. My flight got canceled. The flights were headed to Atlanta that afternoon and the ticket agent said I might get on the last one. I asked if I could fly standby on the first flight and she laughed as she pointed out the line of people hoping to get on the booked flight. Although I knew it was pointless, I didn’t have anywhere else to go so I stood in line.

The first flight boarded and just as the ticket agent was about to shut the door to the jetway, a flight attendant appeared and spoke with the agent. The agent got on the intercom and said, “would stand-by passenger Thompson please report to the gate.” I ran to the gate, the agent asked, “are you Thompson?” I said, “yep.” She handed me a ticket and said, “that’s your flight.” No driver’s license verification, no ticket identification, in typical pre-September 11 fashion, she took me at my word, handed me a ticket, and put me on the plane.

I was quickly hurried down the jetway. When I boarded the plane, the flight attendant said, “you’re our last one; your seat is right there.” It was the first seat through the door in first class. Being a graduate student, I had never been seated in first class. I was shocked. After the plane took off and as we were munching on our hot cookies at 30k feet, the man next to me said, “you barely made this one.” I told him he didn’t know the half of it. I recounted the story and the frequent flyer said something sounded strange. He told me to double-check my ticket so I did. And then I saw what had happened. The ticket read “Keith Thompson.” I couldn’t believe it. I had received someone else’s ticket and it happened so fast no one caught it.

I’m not sure what happened to Keith Thompson that day in Newark, but Kevin Thompson made it to Atlanta and drove back to Alabama to be home with his wife on their anniversary. It was the best flight ever. I didn’t even deserve to be on the plane, but I was in first class.

As I think about my life, I always try to remind myself that I don’t even deserve to be here, yet I’m getting to fly first class. Feeling undeserving, but thankful for what one has changes everything in comparison to the person who feels as though they have earned and deserve everything.

It’s a far better way to live life. Life is meant to be lived in gratitude. Everything we have is a gift.

  • How would you work differently today if you felt your job was an undeserved gift instead of a burden?
  • How would you treat your spouse today if you felt he/she was an undeserved gift?
  • How would you treat others if you saw them as an undeserved gift?

Life is best lived in gratitude. Try it and see how everything changes.

3 Responses to The Day I Stole an Airline Ticket to See Jenny
  1. […] Everyone else finds the bad. (See: The Day I Stole an Airline Ticket to See Jenny) […]... https://www.kevinathompson.com/thanksliving
  2. […] Because we are not promised tomorrow, we should deeply appreciate today. (See: Life is Best Lived in... https://www.kevinathompson.com/may-married-tomorrow

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