Every now and then life gives you one of those wonderful human-to-human experiences that leaves a pleasantly lingering warm glow.

I had such an encounter the other day. What made it all the more extraordinary is it occurred while flying, which of late has been more of an endurance contest than a joy.

The flight’s pilot (four stripes on his shoulder) was the most friendly, personable, and charming pilot I’ve experienced in a long time. He took the time to address the passengers in person. Not over the intercom, not from the flight deck, but from the front of the cabin. He welcomed us, said he was glad to have our business and that he would take good care of us. It was like being transported back to “old-time America” where we were treated as individuals and not packages on an assembly line. It was as if he were channeling Andy of Mayberry.

It made me pause and reflect, smile and ponder the “the power of one.” The ability of one individual to step forward, open up, and create an atmosphere of community and cordiality. Phenomenal.

Then the effective question: When was the last time I had made such a difference in the life of others? When would the next opportunity occur? Would I be aware enough to seize it?

Closing quotes:

“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” — Stephan Grellet, French Quaker; 1773–1855

“Be kind to unkind people—they need it the most.” — Ashleigh Brilliant, English author and cartoonist; b. 1933

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Leo F. Buscaglia, American guru, tireless advocate of the power of love; 1924-1998