Flying First Class

Earlier this year, I posted about the first of my Personal Principles – Try Kindness First. I do mean to get to the other nine one of these days.

And you may remember the Tennessee Seven. One of those seven rescued Westies got a new home in Colorado with my sister. Which brings me to my story:

Flying First Class

You’ve redeemed a bunch of frequent flyer points to upgrade your seat from Steerage to Somewhat Comfortable and as you take your seat, you notice that next to you sits a slightly frazzled woman comforting a little dog in a carrier under the seat in front of her. Your reaction?


If you’re the young man who sat next to me on the Richmond to Atlanta leg, you don’t even say good morning as you sit down because you’re on your phone. And during the flight you stay busy with your laptop avoiding eye contact or any interaction. It’s okay, I understand. The world is still totally All About You, and it’s possible we’re going to ruin your flight. You probably don’t imagine that I’ve already thought of that and am worried about it too. You might even be trying to conceal your aggravation when the little dog frantically starts pawing the side of the carrier to get out. I try to comfort her by opening the zipper to stroke her head while murmuring an apology to you. I think you grunt at me. I know you don’t actually speak. I get it all under control in what seems an eternity but surely isn’t. Josie’s sedative finally kicks in and before I know it, we are landing in Atlanta. You pack up your stuff and hustle off that plane without a fare-thee-well. I know. You hate flying.

And if you’re the older gentleman from Arkansas settling into your seat on the final leg to Colorado, you see me too. You politely greet me and ask “What’s this?”

“I’m bringing a little rescue Westie out to Denver. She’s a puppy mill rescue and she is a little frantic at being in this carrier, I’m afraid. I hope we don’t bother you too much.”

You smile and in a soft drawl you reassure me, “Awww. She’ll be just fine.” And I feel a wave of relief come over me that our three hour flight won’t be an ordeal. Not because I’m sure Josie actually will be fine, but because I’m sure you’re kind.

To the gentle Arkansan who flew out to Denver to consult with an orthopedist in Vail for a bad back, who has Bouvier des flandres dogs and is so very kind: Thank you. You’re a class act. First Class.

Thanks for reading,



About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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43 Responses to Flying First Class

  1. ritaroberts says:

    I simply love this post ! And the work you do for those lovely Westies Glad you thanked the gentleman who was so kind, There are a few polite and considerate people left in the world.


  2. Diane Ahlberg says:

    Well there goes my belief that everyone loves a puppy-


  3. Well said, and too right! I have never travelled with a little pet under seat, but when we last went to Italy, there was a lady with a Westie directly across the aisle from us. The man seated next to her was ABSOLUTELY HORRID. Everyone on the plane thought the same thing – he had clearly had a compassion bypass! Don’t you worry, my dear. People show themselves up for being what they are in the end. Your graciousness also speaks volumes!


  4. dorothy says:

    What ever happened to Manners 101. Thank heavens for the older GENTLEMAN that showed compassion and respect for you doing such a good deed. How could someone ignore such an adorable face (puppy and owner)? Just wish people could care more about their fellowman. Keep up the good work you two.


    • Manners. Ah yes, the subject of a future post which I am already plotting and scheming over! You know what a pet peeve of mine that is. Arkansas gentleman was just that – an example of good manners which is a form of kindness in itself. Thanks, Dorothy.


  5. dorannrule says:

    What a sweet story about the good and the bad in the human race. You, yourself, are a “Class Act.”


    • Ahhh, Dor, thank you, thank you. Ditto!!! Hope the heat is not going to be too bad today in your neck of the woods. We’re expecting 95-plus. And I think a road trip is happening fairly soon….I’ll keep you posted!


  6. This post – from the kindness you’ve shown Josie to the kindness of the Arkansan with the Bouviers to your warm expression of gratitude – warmed my heart. I needed that today. Thank you.


  7. kristieinbc says:

    First of all, well done you for helping out with the Westie rescue! I’ll have to go back and read your original post about these Westies. Second of all, I’m glad the second gentleman managed to redeem the experience for you by being kind. Wonderful post. 🙂


  8. Sue Mayo says:

    No good deed goes unpunished as they say. It is the kindness of the gentleman on the second leg of your flight that restores our faith in mankind. You know me Barb, I could not print the words I would have had for the first man you encountered.


    • Bwahaha, well, that is one of my favorite things about you – cutting through all the hooha with the unvarnished truth. Thanks, Sue, and yes, the second guy was the real deal. You know ’em when you see ’em!!


  9. nrhatch says:

    I’m glad that you lucked out with the kindly companion you had during the 2nd leg of your journey.

    I often interact with strangers ~ in grocery lines, parking lots, at plays, etc. Most of the time, the interactions are pockets of pleasure, but every once in a while I wonder which side of the bed they got out of that morning.


    • Pockets of Pleasure! Love that. Sounds like a good name for a blog. I agree, the majority of people are great and I like interacting with strangers too…but am always keen to read the signs of “leave me the blank alone” which I am more than happy to do!! Thanks, Nancy.


  10. M-R says:

    Just love it, Barbara. Love the whole rescue dog thing, so was infinitely relieved that you weren’t obliged to have pains in the (_|_) on both legs ! Wouldn’t it be lovely to think your Arkansan friend actually read your post ?! 🙂


  11. You are such a wonderful person! I love that you rescue pups. And I used to fly first with my young son when we would head north to visit his Grandmother, we frequently received the ‘look of dread’ from others in the cabin. Thankfully I always had a kind seat mate, and once, one very serious business man acted as my champion with another passenger (he was a very kind man and also a parent). It is after all public transport and sometimes a little human (or canine) kindness is the greatest thing!



    • No, I’m not at all but I thank you, dear Caroline. We only wish we could do more but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Ah yes, “the look of dread!” So wonderful to hear of your champion – don’t these people just sometimes appear out of nowhere and save the day. So lovely. Thanks, Barbara


  12. That lucky Westie – flying first class with such a classy lady. Barbara, I’ve talked with friends about how some folks might find it more difficult to talk face-to-face with someone because they’re so used to talking via social media. Or, maybe, he just was that rude. The other gentleman … bless him for being so kind and making you feel more at ease. 😉


    • Oh, yes, interesting thought. We (not you and me, of course) but “others” are losing the ability to converse nicely with one another, I think. And #1 guy was just not a happy camper to have to sit next to me. Imagine that!!


  13. They are such sweet little dogs; I can’t imagine how someone could dislike them. My rescues are slightly bigger ( the biggest is around 1200 lbs) but the principle is the same: they all just need a soft place to land.


    • Hi, almostfarmgirl, and I agree we all need a soft place to land. Your rescues are the llamas if I’m remembering correctly? Now that would be fun to transport….egad, do they fly in the cargo hold or get transported via truck? Or horse trailer?


  14. Dianna says:

    Aw…..if only everyone could be so kind, the world would be a nicer place!


  15. How RUDE! Somebody needs to teach him some manners…or just simple, decent human interaction for starters! Well you know how I feel about Westies, Barbara! What a lucky dog! Glad the last leg ended well. All the best. ~Karen~


  16. Beautifully expressed, Barbara. I hope that Josie is happily settled into her new home by now, and that she did do just fine on the flight. As stressful as plane travel can be for us, how much more so for little ones with much keener senses than ours. And I hope you survived the trip OK and found some fun somewhere while in CO. Those “chance” meetings are so often the source of new friends and insights. “Wired young man” would be wise to learn that. Did you read James Redfield ? Best wishes, WG


  17. Paula says:

    I love it!!!!! (Calzettaprop) (Paula)


  18. loisajay says:

    what a sweet post. And you are, too, for rescuing that poor little Westie. They are so darn cute!


  19. Jennifer Howe says:

    I love this post. Thank you for helping Josie. She was in good hands. Thank you for helping with her rescue! ~Cheers


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