Want people to be nice? Be nice first.

It was raining in New York. LaGuardia was mobbed, and one look at the “big board” told the story: Nearly every departing flight was delayed, and not just by a few minutes. We’re talking two-, maybe three-hour delays, the kind that make people really, really grumpy.

Except almost no one was grumpy.

They were sharing tables and chairs at the terminal’s lone, overcrowded bar. Air-travel veterans were plugging in multi-outlet chargers and making new friends of the strangers who stopped by to charge their iPhones. In line to board their flights, folks were joking about how there would be more room on the plane than in the crowded terminal. Flight attendants smiled and laughed as they welcomed people aboard.

By all rights, it should have been a miserable wait. Instead, it was almost … fun.

Turns out humanity still has a surprise or two up its sleeve.

But you know what? We can kickstart those surprises by smiling first, by offering the seat or telling the joke or being the charging-station hero.

Interesting concept, huh? Maybe we’re the ones who are responsible for making life pleasant.


Bill Sheridan