The western sky had a crimson tinge as Northwest Flight 642 took off from Spokane for Portland, 52 minutes away. I sat in an aisle seat, as far forward as possible, for easy exit.
The flight attendant, a trim young woman, tied on an apron as soon as we leveled off, for she had a plane full of people to serve in 52 minutes. When she laid a sandwich on my tray, I knew at a glance it was not vegetarian, so kindly asked if I had a choice. Apologetically she explained that they were all the same. Quickly I told her not to worry, and on down the aisle she went busily serving the other passengers.
In a few minutes she finished, came back up the aisle, picked up the sandwich still lying on my tray, and disappeared into the galley ahead. Engrossed in reading, I dismissed the incident from my mind.
Suddenly the flight attendant approached my seat. With a smile she whispered. "I copped this from the first-class area," as she placed a lovely fruit tray in my hands. It looked delicious, and she seemed so pleased. Needless to say, I was too, and quickly set about tangiblyproving my delight.
As soon as I finished I went to the galley where the attendant was busily storing leftover food and trays. As I handed her my tray I also gave her my card, explaining that I wanted her name and the name and address of her personnel manager. "I want to tell him how thoughtful you are and how well you represent his company," I said.
Her hand flew to her mouth; tears welled up. "No one has ever done that for me before," she exclaimed, as she squeezed my arm.
Weeks later I received a letter from her personnel manager assuring me that my letter had gone into the attendant's file. The next day I received a short letter from her. "You made my day," she said. "I wasn't even tired anymore."
The experience started me looking for kind things people do, the "extra mile" sort of deeds. Why don't you look for them, too—the waitress, the gas station attendant, the lady who wraps your purchases, the Sabbath school superintendent, the pastor whose sermon especially blessed you, the conference president who went out of his way to be helpful. Do you notice the extra things they do for you and let them know you appreciate them?
When we pay someone a compliment or express appreciation, we fill his cup of happiness and ours, as well. Then we can both feel like the man who said to me, "I'm drinking out of the saucer, because my cup is running over."