A “Borrowed” Story of the Kindness of a Stranger

I recently returned from a flight on Southwest Airlines where I passed the time reading the magazine in the seat back pocket. I am sharing this “borrowed” story submitted to the Letters to the Editor of Southwest Magazine by Amy Englehardt – with thanks to Amy for unknowingly letting me repeat her story here.

Dear Southwest. I was traveling to Denver, moving my elderly mother to my home. She has dementia, and sometimes seemingly easy tasks become difficult. When it was time to exit the plane, my mom sort of froze and didn’t understand that she needed to walk out to the aisle. Seemingly out of nowhere, flight attendant James Henderson came over and asked me how he could help. I told him I needed help with my mom, and he jumped into action. James strapped my backpack on his back, got in the seat in front of my mom and asked her if she wanted to dance. He said he wasn’t going to see his wife for three days and needed a dance partner. He reached out for her hands, and the two of them two-stepped off the plane, with mom smiling the whole time. The whole plane watched in amazement and gratitude. The tenderness of this young man toward my mom was heartwarming. He treated her with respect, kindness and dignity. In my mind, he was an angel who appeared at just the right moment. I already loved flying with Southwest, but I will carry this experience forever in my heart.

It’s been a little over a year since I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s but I hope along her journey she met a few James Hendersons.