Wednesday , January 20 2021

The kindness of strangers: a non-strings-attached offer on a lonely flight to Vancouver

The CBC Radio One's Early Edition asked listeners to share their stories of friendliness from strangers. Annemarie Kaan's story is the third in a CBC series that flies from December 10-12 on the moments of kindness.

Dear strangers,

I met you on a plane 17 years ago, just as I started moving to Vancouver from Australia.

I just had goodbye to my whole family at Sydney Airport. The last thing I saw was my father; The appearance of his face showed how disturbed he was that I left.

When I got into the plane, I felt very crazy about it all.

Of course I was excited – I am a nurse and love to ski, so an opportunity to work on St. Paul's Hospital got up, I grabbed it – but I also had a lot of excitement.

You worked as a flight attendant on the Air Canada flight and came over to give me a cup of tea. We started chatting about my forthcoming move to Canada.

I did not know anyone where I went so it felt completely lonely and worried how it was all about to throw out.

I think you got a beautiful picture of how I felt and continued to check in with me throughout the flight.

When we approached Vancouver, you came over and told me:

"You know it's going to be okay in Canada, but if you ever feel like you need help or want dinner with someone, here's my parents' phone number. They live in Vancouver and if you're feeling lonely , call them and they'll get you a meal. "

It was such a nice offer and it blew me away.

There was no ulterior motive – you did not ask me on a date or something as such – it was just a clean act of kindness that came out of concern for me.

It's a moment stuck with me all these years. 17 years later I still think about it.

I never ended up following the offer, I was a bit overwhelmed when I first arrived in Vancouver and was swept up in life.

But sometimes I wish that I would have kept the number and given your parents a call.

I actually wrote to Air Canada to try to find you, but only got a generic form back.

The kindness you showed me that day had a lasting impact.

I have taken a page out of your book and I try to show small deeds of kindness every day – I make an effort to just smile at someone or offer them a cup of tea. It can make such a difference.

Thank you for teaching me the lifelong learning because it has served me well over the years.

With kind,

Annemarie Kaan

If you are stranger in this story or who it is, email the Early Edition at [email protected]

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