“No, thank you, I will take any seat but the middle seat,” I reply to the customer service agent.
“Sir, you don’t understand, you’ll be sitting in a normal seat in the back if you don’t accept this upgrade to ComfortPlus, but we don’t have a window or aisle, only a middle seat,” the agent replied.
“I’m good. I only want the aisle, and don’t care if it’s in the back,” I retort.
Miffed, I get on the flight, thankful to not have to sit in the middle seat.
The flight is now delayed.
Now it is deplaned.
We all begrudgingly get off the plane.
We wait for hours. Everyone is upset. A riot seems to be brewing in the terminal.
We’ve been sent scrambling to a different gate.
I plead to the new gate agent –
“My flight has been delayed now 2 times, I absolutely have to get to my destination by tonight or I will miss my presentation in the morning where I am the Keynote Speaker for a very important group. I promised I’d be there. Can you do anything for me?”
“Well sir, I see here on your preferences that you’ll take any aisle or window seat, but won’t accept a middle seat, even in ComfortPlus, is that correct?” the agent inquires.
“Yes, usually that’s the case, but at this moment, I’ll gladly take a middle seat on any plane that can get me to my destination!” I respond animatedly.
The agent asks me to come around and look at the screen, to pick which middle seat I would like.
The entire plane is filled, every aisle and window seat taken, yet to my astonishment every single middle seat on this plane is available!?
I ask why all the middle seats are open?
She responds, “No one wants the middle seat until they absolutely have no choice but to take it.”
A few hours before this moment I would do anything to not sit in the middle seat.
Now, I’m pining for a middle seat, I’m willing to pay any extra amount to get a middle seat, as long as I can get on a plane and it gets me to where I need to go.
Admittedly, I still don’t choose the middle seat when I buy a plane ticket, but depending on the circumstances, and how desperate I am to get to my destination, I’ll take a middle seat, and actually be grateful for it!
How often do we do this in life?
It’s the equivalent of picking through a bushel of ripe delicious raspberries and tossing aside the ones that you’d never eat, in favor of the voluptuous, bright red berries on top.
Eventually you are nearing the bottom of the barrel. The ones you tossed aside at first are now looking pretty good, even if they’re smashed, more purple than red, withered leaves still clinging on for dear life, and heck, at this point you’re willing to pick some of the mold off…
You’re like a hungry bear who doesn’t care, you just want to get your fill.
Sometimes we, as a person, aren’t the first choice.
Sometimes we are the middle seat option, or the berry with some mold at the bottom of the stack.
The advantage comes when we stick around, don’t give up, hang on for dear life, even if that means fighting over armchair space and the unspoken promise of the seat-mate who doesn’t know the rules: Middle Seat gets the armrest, man!
Maybe we’re passed over for the promotion, the opportunity, the pretty girl at the dance.
But, if we are at least in the vicinity, after all the studs are chosen, the stars and louder ones get called up first, maybe it’s a blessing we are still around, in the room, waiting our turn.
And then we are plucked from the bottom of the barrel, the middle seat of humanity, the moldy berry of society, and we prove we have value, we are significant, we have something more than anyone ever saw.
We hang around long enough and we can fulfill The Promise to any company, companionship, or carnivorous herbivore who identifies as an omnivore…
I salute those who hang in there. Keep The Promise. You’ll be chosen soon.
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~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Mentor
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach The Promise
- Author of “The Promise To The One”