Five years after founding The Gratitude Campaign, I've received over 10,500 e-mails, and 1,500 comments on YouTube. It seems that there is a lot to talk about with regard to gratitude for those who serve; not the least of which is the ever present challenge of understanding how to keep the politics out of it. Hopefully this blog will give us an opportunity for some rational, reasonable, and respectful discussion. I hope you'll join us...

~Scott Truitt, FOUNDER


Friday, September 3, 2010

On Contagious Gratitude

Yesterday I was flying home from a business trip. Prior to boarding the plane, I noticed one active military member and one Veteran waiting in the gate area for my same flight. I went over to each of them, as I typically do, I shook their hands, and I thanked them for serving for us. I learned that the Veteran was a Veteran of WWII, having served in the Philippines. Being somewhat of a WWII history buff, I know what that service means, and I was very struck, and honored just to have met him. Both he and the younger Soldier were very gracious, and clearly appreciated my recognition of their service.

As we were boarding the plane and passengers were getting settled, I spoke with two of the flight attendants. I had flown this airline just a few days prior, so I was aware that they offered several snack items, drinks, and in-flight entertainment that were not included in the fare, but could be purchased for a small additional fee. I explained to the flight attendants that I had observed at least one, perhaps two active military personnel and one Veteran who would be on the flight with us, and I told them that I would like to cover anything that these Service Men would like to have during the flight. Both of the flight attendants were visibly struck by my offer. One even noted, “Oh, that’s so sweet of you!” I replied, “Well, I’m grateful.”

As it turned out, the active military member slept throughout the flight, and did not have the opportunity to take advantage of my offer. The Veteran accepted a snack item, which he later walked the full length of the plane to come thank me for; which I was again struck by. This man had helped to define the very world in which I live, and the freedom and prosperity that I have enjoyed since birth, and here he was offering me a very heartfelt thank-you for a $4 snack item.

My point in sharing this story, however, is not even about the Soldier or the Veteran, but rather about the flight attendants. Over the course of the flight, they offered me free snacks, a free beverage (that would have otherwise cost extra), and they swiped their own card to provide me with free entertainment. And they never did allow me to pay for the snack that the WWII Veteran ordered. So, in the end, not only did the Veteran get a little bit of well-deserved recognition and gratitude, but it cost me nothing to give it to him. And what’s more, I got some too. The flight attendant who swiped her card to cover my in-flight entertainment remarked when she was done, “See? When you do good for others, you get good back yourself.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Gratitude is contagious. Pass it on.

The airline was Frontier, by the way. Fly with them if you can. Power to the Positive.

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