If anyone has ever been on an airline flight, you know that the airline flight attendants can be hit or miss in terms of attitude. Some can be extremely wonderful and helpful, others can be curt and unpleasant. Typically I find most airline attendants are relatively nice, and every once in a while there's one that will really stand out.
This last weekend on a flight from Orlando to Boston, I found an airline attendant named Kim with a big heart and love for others.
It seemed like Kim was like any other good airline attendant. She took our drink orders, made her announcements flawlessly, and made sure her passengers had everything they needed. She brought me my ice water and Steve his seltzer and cranberry juice with a big smile. When Kim came around to collect our trash was when we learned that there was something different about our flight attendant.
She came down our aisle with the white trash bag wide open collecting everyone's cups, bottles, snack bags, used tissues, or other debris that is typically found on the plane. When she got to our row, Steve reached over to throw away his cans; she politely asked him to hang on and let her grab the cans. She very deliberately took the tabs off of each can before throwing them away, and slipped the tabs into her pocket. Curious, Steve asked her why she was saving the tabs. She casually said "Oh, we get 3-cents per tab for the Ronald McDonald House. Last year we were able to build 13 cottages, and since I can get all the tabs here on the flights, I just take a couple of extra seconds when I collect the trash to pull the tabs off." With a shrug and a smile, she continued down the aisle collecting trash (and presumably) tabs.
Kim then proceeded to tell me about the involvement she and her family have with the Ronald McDonald House. She lives very close by and is active in serving there, as are her children. Her kids walk over there on the weekends and read to the children who are in there for treatments. Additionally, she helped to build the cottages that the kids stay in while they are there for chemo and is currently working with a team to put together bags with portable DVD players and movies for the kids. This would allow them to have their own stuff rather than relying on what the hospital has available for entertainment. She also told me that on Christmas Eve, they had gotten a lot of snow and were snowed in baking cookies and making fudge. They put together platters of cookies & fudge and brought them over not only to the Ronald McDonald house, but also to the Emergency Room staff at the medical center down the street from where she lives.
I was very excited to hear Kim's story and was in awe of seeing how God was using Kim and her children to serve others in their community. Her passion for serving the kids of the Ronald McDonald house was visible not only in how carefully she removed the pop-tabs from the cans, but also in how excited she was when she told me about the work she and her kids are doing.
When Steve got back from the bathroom, I told him about what I had learned about Kim and how God was using her to do His work. At the end of our flight, I slipped the paper with Kim's address in my bag and made sure not to lose it while we were unpacking. I have a boatload of pop-tabs to mail to a very loving, excited flight attendant.