Creating a Smile at 36,000 Feet

July 24 2017, 9:30pm

Like bus rides or taxes, flying is just one of those things that people do (to travel quickly to a far off destination). It's transactional in nature. There aren't too many who get excited about the idea of flying, especially if they do it often. More often than not, joy may come from traveling abroad but not specifically from the act of flying itself. This presents an ideal opportunity to delight and amuse.

I wanted to share a story on a recent flight where I was delightfully surprised and my thoughts on it.

On a flight to Los Angeles, nothing was out of the ordinary. Security went as expected, dinner cost much more than it probably should, and I waited to board my flight with a relatively quiet group of individuals. Boarding the flight was also pretty typical—with the occasional inquiries into what number you were and light conversation to smooth-out any awkwardness.

So what was special?

While flying, I reached for the magazine in front of me. Upon flipping through, I found a Post-it that read:

Hey Friend... well... total stranger really... I sat here once. It was great. I commend your seat choice. I hope you have the most remarkable of days! And—should it be absolutely ordinary—then I hope it brings you joy. <3 Me

The note I found in the in-flight magazine

I mostly take a peek at the magazine to see if there's anything unique or cool to experience, so when I saw this note on this otherwise average flight, I had a huge grin. The grin probably lasted a good twenty seconds and was of the ugly caliber that you secretly hope no one sees. Luckily for me, the passenger next to me was already asleep—affording me the perfect opportunity to snap this and gently put back the magazine for the next lucky person to read it.

As someone who's huge on creating powerful experiences, it was this moment that reminded me that even the smallest of gestures can be powerful given the right occasion. Although intimate moments like this one should remain so, there is still opportunity to be had in terms of turning more ho-hum or transactional moments into beautiful memories. It's when doing something a little differently during times when we let our guard down that a larger impact can be realized.

Have you uncovered any hidden messages that made you smile unexpectedly? What were they?

PS: Totally going to be making my own in the future. I hope they make others smile similarly.