I was traveling on a fully booked flight from the West Coast to New York. The plane’s departure had been delayed for over two hours, and temperatures were flaring.
As finally we were boarding, I witnessed an interchange between a smartly attired businessman and an elderly woman with a cane. She was leaning against a wall as the first-class passengers were entering the plane. “Don’t you want to board first?” the businessman asked her.
“Oh, no, I’m not in first-class,” she responded.
“Yes, but you have difficulty walking, and you have a cane,” he said. “Please go ahead.” He motioned her forward with a sweep of the hand.
“Well, okay, I guess I can. Thank you.”
She limped ahead of the business man and a few annoyed-looking first-class passengers and handed the smiling agent her coach-seat boarding pass. The businessman followed with his first-class boarding pass.
When I finally boarded and was passing through the first-class cabin, I noticed the somewhat dazed woman sitting in a first-class seat on the aisle, sipping a sparkling water with lime and looking like she had hit the lottery.
I didn’t see the businessman anywhere – until I reached my seat, midway down the plane. He was jammed into a middle seat in the next to last row, not sipping anything.
Fr. Edward Beck, C.P. from his book, Soul Provider
I have asked myself many times: “Would I do something like that?”
I have asked myself even many more times: “Why would I NOT do something like that?”
In the paragraph after telling of his experience on the plane, Fr. Ed Beck says, “According to Aristotle, the cultivation of renunciation is necessary to live the virtuous life, the only kind of life that leads to true happiness.”