This is a story about two small acts of kindness, one each by a Southwest Airlines flight attendant and a Spirit Airlines flight attendant.
But it's also about one of the most important things to learn for anyone who wants to be successful in business and in life.
Let's get right to the stories, and then we'll step back and show why they matter even more than you might first think.
First, meet Jessica Jackson, a Southwest flight attendant who was working flights from Austin to Las Vegas, and then Las Vegas to Reno last week. Among the passengers on both flights: Savannah Blum and her 19-month-old daughter, Brittan.
If you've ever traveled with a toddler -- or been on a flight with someone else's toddler -- you know what it can be like. If they sleep, or they're happy, fantastic. If not -- then an airplane can be the worst possible place to try to care for them.
As Brittan started getting fussy, Jackson decided to step in.
"As a mother myself I know what it's like to travel with little ones," she told a reporter later. "So as soon as I saw her just a little fussy, something just told me just go help her out, someone needs to help this mom out. Let me go ahead and just grab this little baby."
That led to her carrying the little girl in her arms as she went through her rounds on the second leg of the flight -- which in turn led to an adorable baby blowing kisses, and ultimately a viral video posted on Facebook.
It's not all that often that we get to talk about Southwest and Spirit together. They're both low-cost airlines, for sure. But Spirit almost seems to revel in its reputation -- and to find humor in it.
I'm reminded of the Spirit flight attendant who told passengers in a PA briefing: "To all of you that said you'd never fly Spirit Airlines again, welcome back!"
Still, we want to put that aside and introduce you instead to Jamie Patzer, a Spirit flight attendant based in Las Vegas, who found a copy of author Mike Lupica's 1995 young adult book, "Fast Break" from a school library in Pennsylvania.
Wanting to "help the student who checked it out avoid any fines or discipline," she tracked down the school and mailed the book back.
You can guess what happened next: Photos, a happy kid, and a school principal who posted the whole thing on Twitter, which led to news coverage, social media attention, and a nice big win for Spirit.
REUNITED! What a kind gesture by an employee of @SpiritAirlines. One of our students left behind a library book during a recent trip. After 1000s of miles, the book arrived home today @SpringtonLakeMS. Thanks, Jamie! #KindnessMatters pic.twitter.com/MhlreIJS2w-- Dr. Robert Salladino (@SpringtonLakeMS) April 3, 2019
Another airline that shall not be named
I contrast these accounts with another flight attendant story I saw recently on LinkedIn. For the airline's sake, I'm glad I can't find it anymore, so I won't name the carrier.
To summarize, it was about a passenger and his family, who had endured a horrific 28-hour journey. As they boarded their last leg home, he got some good news: He's a frequent flyer, and he was entitled to an upgrade to first class.
He wasn't going to leave his wife and kids back in coach, of course, so he got the idea to give the upgrade to his wife, while he stayed back with the children.
No, he said the flight attendant responded. You're not allowed to transfer an upgrade. And she quickly skipped over him and gave it to the next person on her list.
How do you think that made him feel?
Say it together: 'People will forget what you do...'
Once again, we're in this position -- where a company's front line employees, the ones with the most minute-to-minute interaction with customers, have the chance to something with insanely outsized impact for their brand.
These are small gestures. Holding a baby to give a mom a break? Taking a few minutes to return someone else's library book? Or on the other side: refusing to bend the rules?
People don't remember accurately what other people say, or what they do. They remember how you make them feel.
In days not too long ago, nobody would have known. I'll bet even the flight attendants themselves wouldn't have remembered. But that's not the world we live in anymore.
The smallest actions can have incredible impact for good or bad. People record almost everything. They can share it all with almost everyone on the planet at a moment's notice.
And they do.