I was chatting with the family sitting across from my jumpseat, coming from a holiday cruise. They were telling me about their vacation, and how much fun their 15 year old daughter had, returning home with many new numbers (mostly guys) in her cell phone and sadness at leaving her new friends. The dad (we'll call him Mike) mentioned that his parents were returning from an extended stay in Costa Rica the following Tuesday. "I'm working that flight!" I said. "They are in First Class and they're in their late 80's and their names are -----------------, Mike said. I promised to look them up and went on with my duties. As has become a quite annoying habit lately, I forgot all about this incident until about 15 minutes before landing on the flight Mike's parents were on. I walked up to the front of the airplane and quickly figured out who Mike's parents were. They were sitting quietly holding hands watching the airplane descend through the clouds. I introduced myself and explained that I had met their son and his family on another flight several days prior. "Mom's" face lit up, and as we talked about their vacation, her son's vacation, her grandchildren and I said "I have to tell you something." When Mike and his family boarded the plane and settled in, they noticed an older woman struggling with her baggage. Mike jumped up, and without any prompting, followed this woman to the back of the plane simply to help her stow her luggage. He, of course, got stuck at the back of the plane, and when he finally returned I thanked him over and over for what he had done. He didn't understand why I was making such a big deal about it, until I explained that I see so much bad behavior, that I am really touched when I see good, kind, giving behavior. Mike said, "That's what I was taught growing up by my mother."
So, here's the really cool part of the story. I got to tell Mike's mother, a perfect stranger, something lovely her son had done, and even though he was 55 years old and the lessons she had taught him were a long time ago, her smile turned even bigger and she just shook her head and said "That's Mike. That sounds just like him." And she got tears in her eyes, and I got tears in my eyes, and I knew that I would never forget that moment.
For my boys: You make me proud to be your mother. And you always will.
And for my mother: You left us too soon. I miss you everyday. and I love you, to the moon and back.