05 DEC 2019: It seems almost every week we hear a story of disgraceful behaviour on board an aircraft.  Some people merely have their alcohol supply cut off, others are restrained by the on-board handcuffs, occasionally the pilot considers the behaviour so disruptive and dangerous that the plane is re-directed to the nearest airport where it is met by police and the perpetrator is arrested and the other passengers are seriously delayed.

Now this little story is not meant to stroke my ego.  Nor am I looking for a good behaviour medal.  I want to stress that all we did was smile and exchange a few pleasantries with the crew while we waited at the plane's entranceway for those ahead of us to get settled.  Yes, we smiled.  Then we exchanged festive greetings and enquired if they liked going to Havana ... how long was their lay-over and so on.  Why wouldn't we be pleasant?  We were happy?  Christmas was coming, we were on vacation and off to the sun for a week.

Now I know this is not always the case for all travellers.  Some people may have had a stressful time at their occupations before leaving, some may be emotional at leaving family or a significant other, some may be very tired, some may be grieving, planes are often delayed (usually for safely reasons) and people become worried about missed connections.  My family and I have all boarded a plane under these circumstances and I can understand when people don't feel like smiling.

But smile (and chat a little) we did when we boarded our Air Canada Rouge flight to Havana just before Christmas.  One of the flight attendants awaiting us even commented, "What lovely smiles!".  Easy, right?  And heavens ... was it unusual?

Of course, we thought no more about this.  We were graciously served with our drinks and engaged in further brief conversations with our flight attendants.  But as our flight neared its end our greeter presented us with with a bulky 'sick bag', smiling broadly herself.  On the outside of the bag she had gone to a great deal of trouble to create a drawing and write a message.

The photo may not clearly show that within a leafy drawing and a banner are the following words:  "Thank you for making our day brighter.  It was an absolute pleasure having you both on board today ... [from] your Air Canada Rouge crew."

Please ... no applause, no back patting and, equally please, no groans because you think we think ourselves special.  We don't.  I repeat ... we merely smiled and engaged in a little light-hearted chat.  Now I simply want to relate the little story and share with readers the fact that our friendly behaviour elicited such appreciation.

And inside the bag?  Our attendants had created a little gift from what was available to them.  Probably they would have preferred a different type of gift bag in which to place two bottles of sparkling water, some chocolate bars and a selection of tea bags!  Nothing lavish, of course, but the sentiment behind the gift far outweighed any value it might have.  We were delighted and, should this story ever be brought to the attendant or attendants responsible, we would like to say a heartfelt 'thank you' and express the hope that more travellers appreciate the work you do and smile at you in future.


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Ann Wallace

Ann Wallace is living a writer's dream currently writing of her adventures as she and her husband sail their boat around Europe.

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