Inspirational Stories

Kindness on a Plane Flight

Israeli men calm a mother flying with her baby.

Kindness on a Plane Flight
Israelis have a reputation of being thick-skinned, aggressive and tough people. But when push comes to shove, deep down their warmth and caring shines through.

I was nervous to fly to Israel with my two-month-old son without my husband, not knowing what the four-hour flight would have in store. My husband would be joining us several days later, so I was in charge of independently shlepping the bags, calming the baby if he fussed, and dealing with all of the logistics of international travel with a newborn...

When I got my seat assignment, I sighed-- stuck in the middle seat between two macho, Israeli men. But as soon as I sat down, the man to my left immediately started telling me about his children and asking about how old my son was, showing real interest. When the baby started crying a bit, he told me "Don't worry at all about the crying, it doesn't bother us. That's what babies do and don't be nervous or stressed," speaking for himself and my other neighbor. My neighbor agreed fully.

Hearing that released all of my tension and calmed me down so much. As soon as we took off and the "Fasten Seatbelt" sign was turned off, a third Israeli man, sitting behind me taps me on the should and asks me if I want to trade seats with him. "I have an aisle seat with an empty spot next to me," he said, "and I think it would be much more useful for you to have it with baby." I was shocked by his offer and would usually turn something like that down, but in this case, it was an extremely helpful offer. So I took him up on it and started gathering my things to switch places. My seat-mates quickly helped me move my bags over so I could focus on holding the baby.

When I sat down in my new seat, the man sitting next to the window looks over and says, "Oh a baby! I love babies!", again putting me at ease that any of our shenanigans wouldn't bother him too much.

Next, the man sitting across the aisle from me starts cooing at my son, making funny faces and noises, and starts chatting with me about his grandkids. Several minutes later, he tells me, "Listen, I'm going to sleep a bit now, but if you need to go to the bathroom or you need a break, you wake me and I'll hold your baby. OK?? Promise you'll wake me?" With that he fell asleep. When he woke up a while later, he again asked me if I needed anything.

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After we landed, the man sitting across the aisle from me started helping me gather my things and ended up carrying my small suitcase and baby cars eat all the way from the plane to the passport control in Ben Gurion Airport along with his carry-on luggage! Without me asking or mentioning anything!

On this flight I was so nervous about, I was surrounded by these "uncles".... Men whose names I do not know.... Men who seemed so burly and tough, who soften at the sight of a baby and go out of their way to help a new mother.... Men, who went on with their lives, went back home to their daily routine without even a second thought... Men who immediately reminded me what I love about Israel... the feeling of being at home.
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