On Trying to Be Nice

The universe has a way of being merciless. Attempting to be kind for selfish reasons can result in a situation worse than the starting one. Let me explain.

My flight from Las Vegas back to Raleigh had a connection in Newark. Upon arrival at the Newark airport the Continental reps asked for volunteers to be bumped to a later flight–the plane from Newark to Raleigh had been overbooked–and volunteers would be compensated for their time and trouble with a four-hundred dollar travel voucher.

Sign me up! Four-hundred dollars, to wait in the Newark airport another hour and a half? I had nothing to do when I returned to Raleigh, I could easily wait in the airport.

I volunteered, filled out some paperwork, and the agent told me that they would, more than likely, need my seat. No worries, I said.

The plane boarded. They do a final call. One person hasn’t boarded the plane yet. His name goes out across the loudspeakers. Nothing.

The agent tells me that I can go ahead and board the plane, which works out because my luggage would already have been aboard. My original seat, obviously, has been filled, but I’ll now have a window seat at the back of the plane. I resign myself to not getting the travel voucher.

And then, as I walk to the back of the plane, I see the one open seat. And the man sitting next to me, he’s so big he takes up half of my seat.

Alas! I spend the flight sandwiched between the guy and window. All because I tried to do something nice for entirely selfish reasons.

Let that be a lesson to you all.

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