It pays to be nice

Author Walter Rolando

I was waiting to board a plane from Paris to Stockholm. It was an Air France flight and I was traveling in eco class (as always).


I was going to experience Sweden for 8 months through an exchange in a chic city named Jönköping.

Pretty good, no?

We were going to board and I was queuing as usual. A lady from the airline asked the guy in front of me if he was willing to change seats with a couple (so they could sit together).

He refused with a very crude tone, almost screaming.

She was a little shocked, I guess the most common answer is “yes”. But she still managed to answer: “Thank you sir, have a nice trip” and the guy continued his way on the plane.

When my turn came, I knew she was going to ask me too, because the couple was still waiting nearby and the situation was obviously not resolved.

I saw her name on her jacket, and when she asked if I wanted to change seats, I simply said, “Hello Melissa, yes, of course!”

I mean, one seat or another, it’s the same thing. If the plane crashes, it is likely that everyone dies, regardless of your seat number. And we all go to the same place at the same time, so I have nothing to lose.

It was nice to help and they all thanked me. And then Melissa asked me to wait on the side to board only at the end. I accepted, but at the time I almost regretted my kindness … I had to wait until the very end and I did not even know why!

Once everyone had gone upstairs, Melissa put me with her and whispered, “Walter, there is a free seat in business class, do you want it?”

I said, “Are you kidding? Of course I want it!

A minute later, a boarding pass was printed with my new seat number. She wrote something in the back before giving it to me, with the same smile that a child has before doing something naughty.

And she concluded: “Thank you for being so nice, I really hope you enjoy this free business class flight!”

Needless to say, I was delighted!

I enjoyed an amazing flight with the best meal I have ever tried on the plane. Seriously, it was delicious! And, of course, I asked for a glass of champagne and all the things you are free to ask in business class.

I was so happy that I forgot to read what she wrote me on the ticket … I thought about it only on arrival:

“Thank you Walter, and see you soon, I hope!

By the way, I find you very beautiful! Melissa C. 33 9 ######## “

Beautiful? Me? Seriously?

Being kind, no matter the circumstances, has remained a valuable lesson throughout my life.

Yes, I know you’re wondering …

I sent a message to Melissa when I arrived in Jönköping. The rest does not concern you but I must say that it still plays an important role in my life 🙂

Like what, it pays to be nice!

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