Overdrawn In The Bank Of Karma

Lucky gal

Let me preface this story by saying I know that I am a very, very lucky gal.

A lucky gal who needs to payback some karma – big time.

Last night I flew back to San Diego after three weeks on the road. Annoyed that the flight was not offering any audio or video entertainment (first world problems), I was relieved to have secured an aisle seat for the four-hour flight.

Assigned to seat 11C, I boarded the plane and promptly parked myself in seat 11D. A nice family came along and the dad very politely pointed out that I was in his seat. Fortunately I didn’t get all huffy and insist that I was not, because I was, and THAT would have been pretty embarrassing.

Instead, feeling like a rookie doofus, I collected my belongings and moved across the aisle.

Ahhhhh. All settled in. Until…

A young gal took the middle seat next to me as her husband took the middle seat in front of her.

They chatted and passed things to each other through the space between the seats and I heard them say those dreaded words,

“Maybe someone will trade seats with one of us so we can sit together.”

Oh. No.

Folks, I’m not proud of what I did next.

Donning my headphones and pretending to be oblivious to their dilemma, I avoided eye contact with Young Gal like it was my job.

“Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Don’t ask” was my silent mantra.

Then I saw Young Husband lean over and ask the person in the aisle seat next to him if she would mind trading seats with his wife so that they could sit together.

“Pretty please?”

Aisle Seat Person turned around and gave me a look that said, “Which one of us is going to take the middle seat bullet?” (Another first world problem.)

We had a momentary stand-off but I stared her down. The kind passenger gave up her seat so the loving couple could be together.


Except then I felt like crap. And guilty.

I ALWAYS give up my seat to families with children, hoping that the kindness will be repaid to my children when they are traveling with my grandchildren. Why did I hesitate in showing the same generosity to this adorable young couple?

Once Kind Passenger was settled in to her new middle seat next to me, I noticed that she was an airline employee. I have to admit that I felt a little less guilty knowing that she was flying for free, but I wasn’t sure that the Bank of Karma would consider that a mitigating factor in my selfishness.

Bank of Karma

When the drink cart came along the Kind Passenger ordered a glass of wine. Feverishly trying to right the karma scales, I told the flight attendant that I would like to pay for Kind Passenger’s wine since she gave up her seat so I didn’t have to.

“And while you are at it, I’ll take a glass of wine, too.”

Imagine my surprise when the flight attendant winked and said both glasses of wine were on the house (or I guess on the plane?).

Oh boy. I was benefitting from some seriously undeserved karma.

The flight just kept getting better and better.

Kind Passenger and I struck up a conversation and I learned lots and lots of interesting tidbits about working as a flight attendant and navigating a rocky corporate merger. I won’t mention the companies’ names because I don’t want anyone to get in trouble but let’s say the names rhyme with “New Knighted” and “Non Tee Nental”.

Next thing we knew, the flight attendant brought us each a glass of complimentary wine. From the first class cabin. FIRST CLASS WINE! The good stuff.

Double oh boy.

The rest of the flight was delightful. And no one took my luggage by mistake.

I kept expecting to get my come-uppance, to be put in my cosmic place, to get my due for all the taking without giving.

But nothing bad happened. It was the perfect flight.

So now I’m on an epic quest to repay all the good karma that was afforded to me, even though I did nothing to deserve it.

I’ve got to fix this overdraft before the Bank of Karma starts foreclosure proceedings on me.

How do you feel about giving up your seat on the plane? Have you ever been showered with undeserved good karma?

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. We usually fly Southwest, so there’s no picking seats ahead of time, although on our last trip we DID give up our seats (and flew later in the day). That’s kinda like trading, right?
    Kathy G recently posted…Missing Mall WalkerMy Profile

  2. katie clooney says:

    Mo… one of your best posts. I felt like I was sitting right next to you. I would not have given up my seat either. So glad you had a great flight in the end and the honeymooners could be together. OK .. not really.. I wish along with your free glass of wine they upgraded you to first class!! Have a wonderful weekend with you hubby!

    • Hahaha! No first class, I just had to settle for first class wine. Hope you survived the torrential Boston rains this week unscathed. We have an unusually busy weekend planned – wine tasting, Othello starring the dreamy Blair Underwood, and a cooking class. Yay! Stories to blog about!! Happy weekend to you and the Mister, too!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Overdrawn In The Bank Of KarmaMy Profile

  3. I would never have had the nerve to ask someone to give up an aisle seat, but how nice that it all worked out and you had someone to talk to and a free glass of wine 🙂
    Vicki recently posted…Two YearsMy Profile

  4. This post is fabulous…It made me smile from ear to ear! I also would not have given up my seat…I think it is a lot to ask of someone to move to a middle seat…they should have planned ahead and gotten seats together!! Have a great weekend, Mo!! xoxo
    Sandy recently posted…Traveling with Your Jewelry…And A Dazzling Giveaway!My Profile

  5. Mo, I don’t think the bank of Karma needs repaying. It is not like you hogged a seat on a train while an elderly person stood up. Your kind heart shone though all the way, offering to get a glass of wine as thanks and even the fact you called them the kind passenger shows you were appreciative.
    Karen Main recently posted…The exquisite beauty of resilienceMy Profile

  6. I think it’s one thing to give up a seat for a family with children, but I wouldn’t think it’s necessary for a couple. I have sat separate from my husband on several flights and we’ve done ok 😉 But I hear you on feeling guilty! Sounds like a very nice flight, and I’m sure you were repaid on this flight for giving up your seat in the past!
    Bev recently posted…Perfect moms need not apply: My podcast at ‘Lose the Cape’My Profile

  7. Oh Mo this is just so me. I’m sorry but I too love the aisle. When I was younger I would have been guilted into giving it up however now not so much. Last year my son and I flew to Cancun for a week. On the way there this family of four bustled down the aisle and split up. Mom and two teens sat in front and dad stopped by me. As I got up to let him sit by window he declares “You’ll be much happier there. I’ll sit on the aisle.” I found myself snapping “Oh I don’t think so buddy. I booked early and paid extra for this aisle sit. Enjoy the window, thank you very much.”
    Windowman smouldered for the rest of the flight …
    Kelly McKenzie recently posted…We Need Dish SoapMy Profile

  8. Oh, Mo! What a funny story! I’ve never been asked to give up a seat. I think you got extra good karma points for offering to buy her a drink!
    Kristen recently posted…The Incredible ‘Contusionist’ WomanMy Profile

  9. I enjoyed this post, probably because I’ve been in your shoes! I do not like to have a middle seat, unless I am with my family, so I may not have been kind enough to exchange with Young Couple, either! Glad it all worked out for everyone, though!
    Amy recently posted…Lemon Thyme Pound CakeMy Profile

  10. A few years ago I was flying down to TX for a girls trip and a random guy gave me free drink tickets – not sure how much karma was involved but it was a great start to my trip!!!
    Kim recently posted…VacationMy Profile

  11. I would never ask someone to give up their seat if it was to sit next to my husband. Kids, yes. But all bets are off with spouses. I understand your feelings of guilt, but I wouldn’t have given up my seat either. Too many years of sitting in between my kids on planes!

    Btw, I laughed out loud at your rhyming – way to protect the identity of those airlines!
    Dana recently posted…I’ve always been partial to BethsMy Profile

  12. I would have been guilty too. I hate the middle. I do a lot to plan and prepare for the seat I want and with people like that couple – I would have referred to my oft repeated phrase (posted on the walls of my classroom for my high school students to read) “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” Bitchy? Maybe. But I also try to put myself in other people’s travel shoes and I know I would never ask people to trade seats so that my hubs and I could sit together. In fact, sometimes I like the few degrees of separation – I can talk to new people, put on my headphones and read or relax…etc. I doubt you’re close to any kind of karmic foreclosure. Just the fact that you felt bad and also recognized the undeserved generosity says much about your spirit…you’ll have your turn someday, I’m sure, to pay it forward.
    Barbara recently posted…Draw it. Paint it. Sketch it. Bring it.My Profile

  13. I now have a new favorite saying. What a perfect way to remind others (including ill-prepared students!) that they are responsible for their own success and failures and are not entitled to expect others to bail them out! Brilliant!
    Mo Lux recently posted…Overdrawn In The Bank Of KarmaMy Profile

  14. It must have been newlyweds, because I don’t think I would have minded a flight staring at the back of the Mr.’s head. You were within your bounds not to move, but wow – what a dose of guilt! I would have felt the exact same way you did.
    Go feed some birds or something nice so the world will be right again!
    Leslie Anne recently posted…Summer Coca Cola CrateMy Profile

  15. No, I never change seats because I ONLY fly if I have an aisle seat or a first class aisle seat…..I get up so often I would seriously discomfort other passengers as I am very tall.
    I have been given wine before because I try to help other people…….you have to remember, karma is the sum total of all of your actions, not just the ones on the plane!! Don’t feel guilty, the older you get, the more “karma” may settle in favor of younger people….honesty!!!!

    • You are so right, Lynn! I also find myself getting up quite often, particularly on a long flight. While we are enjoying our aisle seats, the truth is we are saving the other passengers in our row from being inconvenienced! What a great way to look at it!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Overdrawn In The Bank Of KarmaMy Profile

  16. mo, you deserve all the good karma coming your way!

  17. Awwww, thanks, Catherine. I see that you have been catching up on your blog reading! Hope you are getting some sleep!
    Mo Lux recently posted…Overdrawn In The Bank Of KarmaMy Profile

  18. I just found my way to your Google+ site. Good story, Mo. I think I would have kept my coveted aisle seat too.
    Linda recently posted…Hello AgainMy Profile

  19. Great post! Felt like I was there and very relatable and I think it’s ok to keep that aisle seat on two plus hour flights… the loving kiddie couple should have stayed put

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