How one man’s heartbreaking flight turned into one of his most memorable.
Cremation is how the bodies of most deceased are dealt with in Japan, but once a body has been cremated, it’s still not over. The ashes need to be transported to their resting site, whether it’s to a home, a grave, or as fertilizer for a tree.
For some, that transportation of the ashes can be quite the emotional journey. Japanese Twitter user @com_kamada recently posted a short article about such a journey his father’s friend took after his wife died, and it struck a chord with the Japanese internet.
Here’s the original tweet (translation below):
▼ “This is an article my dad wrote about his friend,
but it’s a good story so I’d like you to read it.”
KMD (@com_kamada) July 13, 2017
The story goes that the man was transporting his wife’s ashes from where they’d lived in Yokohama to their hometown in Saga Prefecture in Kyushu. The two had been together for over half a century.
He flew on a plane to get to Saga, and he brought his wife’s ashes secured in a large bag. Since the bag was fairly large though, he asked at the luggage check-in counter if it was okay.
Everything seemed fine, so when he boarded the flight he put the bag in the overhead compartment and sat down. But then a flight attendant came over and said to him, “The seat next to you is empty. Would your traveling companion like to sit down?”
The simple question he had asked during check in had turned into something more. The flight attendant took the bag down for him, placed it in the seat next to him, and secured it with the seatbelt. They even brought her share of refreshments during the flight.
The man said that, “We were able to have a final trip together, just the two of us.”
What a beautiful way to help the man find some happiness during what have been an incredibly difficult time. It’s impressive that the airline was not only willing to go through with such a seating arrangement (considering all the safety precautions they have to take), but also that the check-in counter was able to relay the message to the flight attendants. It was a team effort that came together in this touching way.
Here’s how Japanese netizens responded:
“They gave him a trip that he will never forget.”
“That made me cry.”
“Me too. Not tears of sadness, but warm tears of joy.”
“I know they just did it because they had the extra space, but the fact that they actually did it is amazing.”
“I want to be someone capable of giving such great service to others.”
At a time when humans are being treated more like commodities every day, it’s nice to take a step away from that and see how much happiness we can bring to others by just going a little out of our way.