Smile Card Magic In The Sky
--by Namaste, posted Jun 27, 2010
I was at Karma Kitchen, a gift economy project, when a volunteer asked if anyone could use some free drink coupons for a particular airline. I enthusiastically accepted, knowing that even though I don't usually drink, I could use those free drink coupons to "tag" someone with a smilecard. I loved the idea of "tagging" someone with a smilecard and a free drink coupon on an airplane!
Fast forward a month or two later, when my girlfriend and I were on a flight to Las Vegas as the first stop of a trip to the Grand Canyon. I had several drink coupons and smilecards ready, and it was just a matter of figuring out the "Who" and the "How" of tagging someone on an airplane, while still trying to stay completely anonymous.
As luck would have it, we had an awesome, amazing, hilarious flight attendant, who was very, very funny (he really could have been a stand-up comedian). Some of his antics included making a "Darth Vader" type breathing sound into the microphone and in general making the preflight spiel more lively and funny than ever before.
When he came back to take our drink order, we requested some juices, but then gave him a smilecard and a drink coupon, told him a little about the smilecard concept (acts of random and anonymous kindness), and asked him if he could pick someone to tag for us. He agreed, and took the smilecard and free drink coupon with him.
About 30 minutes later, he came back and whispered to us what happened. He had "tagged" a woman who seemed a bit down, giving her the drink coupon and smilecard, and explaining that it was courtesy of someone on the airplane. She (and her friend next to her) were apparently floored that a stranger would do this, and in fact they really needed a "pick me up." They told the flight attendant that they were just coming back from a funeral of a close friend who had died suddenly and unexpectedly, and thus they were feeling down. Which made them even more grateful and open to receive this act of kindness!
There was so much joy in the flight attendant's rendition of what happened, and then he offered to buy us free drinks. Since we don't usually drink, we upped the ante a bit more and gave him two more smilecards and free drink coupons: One of each to go to the friend of the previously tagged woman, and one of each to use on his next flight.
It was an amazing experience for everyone involved -- tagees, taggers, and the awesome flight attendant who was willing to serve as the "go-between" to keep the game annoymous. We loved hearing the story of how it turned out (while staying anonymous to the people who got the coupons and smilecards), and he loved playing "kindness cupid," selecting someone for a random act of kindness!