I just wanted to take a moment to share some of my experiences over the weekend relative to all of the tragedy we’ve faced over the past few weeks:
1. On my flight from Houston to Birmingham last week I was making my way back to the restroom. (We were on a regional jet with first class but only one facility in the very back of the plane.) I stopped to wait my turn next to a young black mother with her cute little baby about halfway back the cabin. He reached his arms out for me to hold him and I looked at her and said, “May I?”
And she responded, “Oh yes, he loves attention.” So I held him and cooed at him and did all the things you do with a baby. Shortly after, the man who was sitting across from me up front came to get in line as well. The reason I mentioned first class earlier is he was your typical first class passenger (older white man who gave the impression of being a tad bit snobby and not the baby type at all). The baby reached out to him, he looked at the mother and asked if it was ok and took him from my arms. They played and laughed and opened and closed the luggage compartments over and over to the baby’s amusement. When the plane landed the mother was having a hard time getting the car seat on the stroller so the gentleman and I waited with her in the jetway and I held the baby while he helped her secure the car seat. She looked at us with a smile on her face and said, “People can say what they want about the south — but this is southern hospitality. I’m from New York and I was nervous about being here but no one in New York would have shown this kindness. Thank you.”
2. On the way back from the beach to Birmingham for me to catch my flight we stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat in Montgomery. There was a white Sherrif’s deputy eating alone next to a large black family. The head of the family (a man in his 50’s) got up from his table and went and sat with the deputy and they had a long chat that was filled with smiles and laughter and concluded with an affectionate handshake.
3. There were lots of thunderstoms in Birmingham yesterday and the runway was literally a lake. When planes would land water would fly over the roof of the planes and cloud to ground lightning strikes were everywhere. My anxiety was at max level to say the least. I reluctantly boarded the plane because of nerves with tears in my eyes and found my seat next to a young black soldier on his way to Ft. Hood. I told him I was really nervous and may have to hold his hand. He looked at me and said, “Yes, that’s ok, I’m terrified to fly too.”When we took off we hit some pretty bad bumps and so I patted his shoulder and he squeezed my hand and we talked our way through it.
This is America; these are the race relations of most Americans. Helping each other — hand in hand — in all different shades of love and skin color. It breaks my heart the media is doing everything they can to convince us otherwise.