“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
They announced “We are now inviting any passengers requiring special assistance to begin boarding at this time” and the entire herd moved towards the gate as always. However one gentleman, who clearly needed no help getting onto the plane, started pushing through the crowd towards the gate. I was like many others who looked at him wondering what he was up to. It is always entertaining to watch people jockey for the best possible location to get on the plane before everyone else.
I could not have been more wrong!
I was barely close enough to the desk next to the gate to over hear that he was asking if he could trade seats with someone else (I am guilty of eavesdropping as well). The gate attendant complied with the man’s request and I watched in awe and embarrassment as he waved an older gentleman to the front. However it wasn’t only the man’s age that made me now admire this man for giving up his first class seat, but the fact that this elderly gentleman wore a World War II Veteran’s baseball cap.
As we boarded the plane and I headed for the back, I stopped to acknowledge the man who had given up his first class seat for this hero from a different generation (I wanted to thank the veteran as well but he was preoccupied as I passed). He told me it was nothing and that the veteran had been coming home to Philly to bury his wife.
While embarrassed by my initial thoughts and saddened by the additional information, I couldn’t help but feel honored to have witnessed something so special and rare.
Was he a Christian?
It really doesn’t matter what that man’s faith was a far as I am concerned. He did the right thing by showing this veteran the respect and compassion he deserved. I will be sure to include both of these men in my prayers tonight and I can only hope I will be more aware the next time an opportunity for me to help someone presents itself. While I know you don’t need to be a Christian to do the right thing, I do believe that if you are going to live a life that best glorifies God, we shouldn’t just do what is right but should actively look for those opportunities.
As runners, I believe these opportunities may not always be as obvious in our daily lives. However, don’t fool yourself as they probably occur more than you know. It might be as simple as a smile and saying good morning to a fellow runner on a trail that helps get their day off to a great start. Sometimes it’s those few words of encouragement you share to a friend while you train together or after they have really pushed themselves in a race.
I don’t want to trivialize the significant event at the airport with running. However, many of you know that I attribute running as a critical part of what has helped me strengthen my faith. As a result, I believe it also helped me better recognize what occurred today; not just someone doing the right thing but someone demonstrating a wonderful example of God’s Love.
God Bless you and America,
PS – Next time you see a serviceman or woman, make sure you thank them!