Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My faith in humanity has been restored

Something completely miraculous happened to me about three weeks ago. I call it miraculous because I haven't viewed that many random acts of kindness in my lifetime and therefore had begun to believe that people are generally self-interested. Until three weeks ago.

Earlier this year J and I flew out to San Diego for my sister's graduation. It was a packed flight and we were seated at complete opposite ends of the plane, he in the back near the toilets and screaming babies (haha), me up nearer to first-class where I belong. As I took my seat I made some joke about packing into these planes like sardines to the guy next to me. He laughed, and for the next four and half hours we had one long, uninterrupted conversation about, well, everything. Let's call him Jude, for privacy's sake.

Jude looked to be in his 30s and couldn't have avoided me even if he wanted to since he had the window seat (muwahaha). We talked nonstop about our spouses, lives, careers and dreams. I told him I'd just quit my job to pursue writing books and he was so enthusiastic. It was an amazing, deep conversation and a refreshing reminder that the stranger sitting next to you could very well be a great friend if you just lean over and start asking questions (which I do because I'm nosy and like hearing other people's stories). In the midst of our conversation we lost track of time and were both startled when the pilot came on the intercom announcing we were already descending into San Diego. It felt like only 30 minutes had gone by.

Needless to say we exchanged LinkedIn information (how very 2009 of us), but after introducing Jude to J near the baggage carousel and saying goodbye I sadly thought that would be the last I'd hear from him. Such is the usual way of life. Until I received an email from him three weeks ago. Apparently he'd read the last few posts of my blog, saw the bad news about J's no-offer with the Newport Beach firm and our subsequent tightening of the money belt and offered help ... in the form of two round-trip tickets back to California for the holidays using all the extra airline miles he had.

Wow. At first I thought he was just being nice, and politely said I couldn't take them, but after a few emails back and forth he insisted and said his miles would expire unused anyway if I didn't (he travels a ton for business so had a stockpile of them). How could I refuse? I said okay, sent him the exact travel dates we wanted and the next day we had confirmation of two round-trip tickets to the Bay Area for December/January sitting in my inbox.

I was and still am floored, and continuously thanking God that this happened when it did. No one outside of my family has ever offered me such a generous gift before, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude. How do you repay someone you've known for all of 5 hours for going out of their way to make your life easier? Especially at a time when J and I were nauseous about having to put the nearly $2,000 worth of holiday travels onto our credit card in an effort to conserve cash. Yes, Jude essentially gave us a $2,ooo present.
Christmas has come early to Crystal and J's household.

At any other point in my life I'd overnight Jude a bottle of Dom or Veuve Clicquot and profusely thank him in an annoying accompanied note, but right now all I can do is thank him through email and it just doesn't cut it. Sigh. More than the monetary gift I'm thankful because I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored, you know? Like people CAN actually be genuinely kind without being self-interested. It's refreshing and humbling and I'll never forget this. I've already promised myself to someday do something similar when I have the means of doing so. N
ot to get all "Delilah after Dark" on you, but kindness is contagious.

So as a joke I told him I'd send him a personally signed copy of my book when it's official and he replied "absolutely."

"Happy to help... looking forward to you two accomplishing great things... for some reason I just feel it. Never stop dreaming," he wrote.

With this gesture, I don't think I ever will.

21 comments:

Revanche said...

Awwww ... that is so sweet, thoughtful, and generous of him. It always feels like you can't thank someone being selfless enough, doesn't it?

Secret Asian Man said...

Oh Crystal, you have thanked him, in the form of minor internet fame under the pseudonym Jude in this post. You can thank him more by paying it forward someday or visiting friends in the bay area ;)

Suzyhayze said...

OH MY GOD! Best story. Hands down. EVER!

Tami - fete a fete said...

I've been lucky enough to have angels like yours and it's definitely a sign from the universe to keep your dreams alive!

dospajaritos said...

Amazing. This may have officially just turned my day around... things are looking up!

Kate Gabrielle said...

wow, that is so incredible!!! You've just restored my faith in humanity, too.

me in millions said...

Such a touching story. And a reminder that you should be friendly to everyone. You never know who is going to surprise you...

Maritza said...

I love how people are still willing to be kind. =) Great to hear when we see mostly negative things in the world.

eemusings said...

That's amazing!! What an uplifting story. There really are some great people out there. So happy for you!

Noodlegirl said...

Wow that is really nice of him!

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I am tearing up over here.

He clearly reads your blog, and will probably get to read this post and maybe the comments, to which I say: that is the sweetest gesture I have ever heard of.

Best story for the upcoming Christmas season, ever.

I am not sure anything else will top this. *sniffle*

Nicole said...

Wow! I didn't realize things like this happened in real life! Thank you so much for sharing this story!

Chelsa Bea said...

I just love this story. Made me smile and get that warm fuzzy feeling. I am so, so happy for you and J. Happy early Christmas.

Kim said...

Wow. That's so unbelievably kind and restores my faith in humanity. Go Jude!

Anonymous said...

Wow. The Lord works in misterious ways.

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

Oh Crystal, I'm so happy for you and J! Jude sounds like a rock star! You must "pay it forward" in some way to someone else, even if it isn't Jude. That is just the right thing to do.

And who knows, maybe you will have the means, after your book gets published and written into a movie and you're filfthy rich of course, to send someone on their very own holiday airline adventure!

Such a wonderful, uplifting story! I feel like I just read an entry in one of those "Chicken Soup For the Soul" books. This would even make a good "Readers Digest" story too. I swear, you should publish this story then use the money you receive to do a random act of kindness too. ;-)

paisley penguin said...

So. Very. Cool!

marci @ onlinecolleges said...

Great story of selflessness! I do believe some people really are that kind, in their heart of hearts. I hope you can pay it forward someday, in his memory.

S said...

Just found your blog. This story is wonderful.

Akirah said...

That's so awesome. I think some of the best people we meet, we meet on planes. I was flying in from Baltimore yesterday and the turbulence was absolutely awful. I sat next to this extremely hilarious guy who took my mind off of it the whole time. It was great. I'm glad you met a new friend. And I know he's right...you WILL do great things!

Katherine said...

Hey Jude, you rock!

Such a cool story. Crystal, thank you for sharing this. Love it!

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