I Just Had The Most Surreal — And Profound — Flight Attendant Experience In My Life

One of my closest friends is usually fighting a particularly mean and apparently merciless kind of cancer, and I have got begun to make the trek from the home in Brooklyn to her house just outside Boston as often when i can.

Thanks to $96 roundtrip plane tickets from JetBlue, I’ m capable to travel there without having to face a lot more expensive and monotonous four-hour teach trip or one of the even lengthier and more harrowing budget bus excursions I regularly used to take to notice her years ago when I was in grad school.

On Thursday, as I boarded my flight, I instantly understood something out of the ordinary was happening after i was greeted by a sweet, 20-something puppy dog of a flight worker who welcomed every single passenger on to the plane by singsonging the exact same issue ― something like: “ Hi ! I’ m Zach! Welcome aboard and am hope you’ re having a remarkable day! ”

He was therefore friendly it was almost violent.

Yet that was just the beginning. Zach ongoing to tell everyone on the flight (person to person or over the intercom) how “ awesome” everything would definitely be and repeatedly letting all of us know how “ grateful” and “ happy” he (and the entire crew) was that each of us was generally there. As we stowed our carry-on baggage and took our seats, Zach buzzed around us, helping in which he could and profusely apologizing anytime he was forced to ask anybody to do even the simplest or many routine of air travel tasks. The request for someone to push her handbag further under her seat, which usually, normally, I would have automatically fine-tined out, turned into a memorable smaller performance ― a grand gesture associated with apology like, “ I’ meters so , so sorry, ma’ feel, but do you think it’ d end up being possible for you to move that handbag? Is that OK? Yah? Awesome! Thanks to being SO AMAZING ! ”

Never in my lifetime have I heard “ awesome” used by one person so many times in such a short time of time, and I came of age within the ’ 90s.

I quickly understood I wasn’ t the only one who have thought something unusual was taking place on board flight 1318, and quickly passengers began to call out to Zach from their seats to ask your pet questions like, “ Where are you currently from, Zach? ” (North Dakota) and ― as most of us believed this must be his first 7 days on the job because no one could be within customer service for very long and still end up being this berserkly chipper ― “ How long have you been doing this, Zach? ” (two years! ). Most of the aircraft would spontaneously erupt into applause anytime Zach said anything within the intercom due to the contagious giddiness which i realized was born of the sheer unadulterated joy coming from this young man.

I can honestly state I have never witnessed anything enjoy it. It was nothing short of mystifying.

As we lifted into the atmosphere, I could hear the passengers about me talking to each other about Zach ― quietly laughing and congratulating themselves for guessing that their persistent tenderness and unbridled positivity meant he had to be from someplace other than New York or Boston. Actually I, someone who historically prided themselves on (and at times secretly lamented) being a particularly nasty breed of cynic who would normally sneer at somebody like Zach, felt myself nearly giving in to the awe that this child was conjuring up simply by becoming so damn nice.  

After that, halfway through the short flight, when i was passing the time watching the type of trash you only allow yourself to view when you’ re flying a large number of feet above your normal lifetime,   I suddenly saw Zach shuffling down the aisle of the aircraft on his knees.

It took me another to realize he wasn’ t searching for something someone had dropped however instead, was on his knees therefore he could be at eye degree while introducing himself to  every single passenger on the flight . He approached me and mentioned, “ Hi ! I’ m Zach! I just wanted to personally introduce personally to you! Is there anything I can do to benefit you to make your flight more comfortable? ” I shook his hand plus said “ No” and “ Thanks” while trying, but totally failing, to match his level of passion (something I would almost never normally actually let myself ― or value letting myself ― attempt), after which he continued to scoot over the aisle. I just kept thinking, WTF is going on here ? Is this really happening?

The flight to Boston through NYC is only 45 minutes, so Zach didn’ t get to everyone, yet he fired up the intercom plus apologized to those people he skipped and let everyone know that this individual wished he could have talked in order to each and every one of us.

I can honestly state I have never witnessed anything enjoy it. It was nothing short of mystifying.

Portion of me wondered what Zach’ h coworkers thought about his unorthodox method of his job, but the other airline flight attendant didn’ t seem troubled by it in the least. In fact , she appeared just as charmed as the rest of all of us were.

As the plane was taxiing, Zach got on the intercom a single last time and told all of us that he always liked to end each flight with an inspirational quote. Their quote for us on Thursday seemed like something out of a self-help book ― some treacly range about striving to be the best we are able to be and how good it’ lmost all make us feel ― which i typically would have scoffed at, yet I found my trusty go-to brand eye roll just wouldn’ big t roll.

I’ m not sure precisely what was going on with Zach. Almost all I know is that I wanted to ― and usually would ― dislike someone like him. But some thing changed right around the time he started moving down the aisle toward me.

It had been then that I realized maybe this particular wasn’ t an act ― or if it was, it was a good act concocted so purely plus deeply and genuinely by Zach for whatever reason that it was no longer merely a good act and had become some better truth for him and, subsequently, touched everyone who encountered your pet in a truly mindbogglingly beautiful method.

Lately however, tiniest pinprick of light may feel like grace, and leaving Logan Airport Thursday afternoon, I could have the cold Boston sunlight streaming with the hole Zach had lovingly punched through my chest.

In recent months, as I’ ve grappled with what is happening to my friend as well as the terrifying specter of her feasible death looming somewhere in the too-near future, I’ ve been researching ways to puncture my especially tough outdoor in order to let a little more joy in to my life wherever and whenever I could. Lately even the tiniest pinprick associated with light can feel like grace, plus leaving Logan Airport Thursday mid-day, I could feel the cold Boston sunshine streaming through the hole Zach got lovingly punched through my upper body.

I’ m sure he doesn’ t know what he did for me personally ― and seemingly for many of some other people on my flight. I actually honestly think he just will get up every day and decides it can be a good day no matter what disappointments they are or isn’ t facing any kind of time given moment, no matter what secret heartache he may or may not be currently seeking to keep inside his ribcage. Thinking about the state of this country and what’ s going on in our world and exactly how distraught so many of us are perception of so many things right now (even those of us who else aren’ t grappling with some thing as monumental as cancer or even death), I view Zach’ h unflinching optimism as a radical, frantically needed kind of activism and I’ m incredibly grateful I got to try out it, however briefly.

It’ s i9000 hard for so many of us, whom in hopes of protecting ourselves possess closed ourselves off from ourselves every other, to not be skeptical whenever we encounter someone who appears to be immune towards the various kinds of grief that regularly discompose us ― or, at the very least, appears to be relentlessly devoted to rooting out plus spreading goodness wherever he can. However in part thanks to Zach, I’ mirielle starting to realize maybe we should every attempt to be more like those people― if not every day, then for a few mins each day or however long we are able to physically and emotionally bear this. And maybe, like a muscle, the more all of us work that part of ourselves, the simpler it will be to engage it until attention becomes more of a reflex we are able to rely on and less of a problem or a chore.

Zach reminded myself that we get to choose how we method our lives and the people we fulfill and that finding the bright side ― or even at the very least looking for the bright side ― of any situation is always an alternative. And as hokey as it sounds (and trust me, I know it does), in the center of the strange, sad journey I’ m on right now, that really feels like a gift.

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