What Elan Gale Should Have Tweeted

Dear Elan Gale @theyearofelan,

It's clear from your tweets and your occupation that you love sharing stories. The (apparently fake) reenactment of your Thanksgiving flight in 45 tweets inspired me to want to create my own version of what could have happened (mine takes only 20 tweets). This is the story I wish you had shared...

Tweet 1: Our flight is delayed. A woman here is very upset because she has Thanksgiving plans. She clearly can't think she is the only one. Wonder what is going on with her?

Tweet 2: She is worried she is going to miss her connecting flight. She keeps reiterating that she wants to be with her family. Everyone is getting annoyed but it is sad to watch. Something must be going on with her to cause her to act this way...

Tweet 3: I sent the woman a glass of wine and a note:
Dear Fellow Passenger, It is clear that you are upset and frustrated. I am not sure what is going on in your life but just wanted to send a glass of wine and let you know that I empathize and also hope we make it to our destination soon. I hope this helps make the wait more bearable. --Elan

Tweet 4: Pushing her call button a lot. Wonder what she needs?

Tweet 5: Flight attendant just gave me two cookies. He thought since I requested them I should hand them to her.

Tweet 6: I'm going to do it

Tweet 7: I walked by her row, smiled, and put them right down on her tray.

Tweet 8: She just stared at me in disbelief. She couldn't tell if I was being kind or doing it as a joke. I hope she realizes I was trying to help her out.

Tweet 9: The male flight attendant just handed me a note from 7A. It reads:

Dear Elan,

The wine was very kind. So were the cookies. Your compassion means so much to me. I'm sorry I've been rude and demanding. I guess it is my way of dealing with my fear. You see, I have Stage IV small cell lung cancer. This is most likely my last Thanksgiving. The thought that I could miss spending it with my family because of a flight delay is just too much to bear. Thank you for reaching out to a stranger and offering me kindness when I least deserved it. Your family is so fortunate to have you.

With Gratitude,


Tweet 10: Speechless. Who knew how badly a random act of kindness was needed? If only the other passengers and flight attendant were aware of what she is going through they would never be annoyed.

Tweet 11: Thinking more about it, there is always is a story behind our actions. Pain and fear lead to anger. Amazing how a kind word can so quickly change that.

Tweet 12: Diane is in her late 40s or early 50s. She is wearing a medical mask. How tragic for a life to be ending at such an age. My mother isn't much older than her.

Tweet 13: Thanks for your support. I can't believe there are people who are anti-Diane. Have you no heart?

Tweet 14: I'm writing a note as we speak

Tweet 15: Dear Diane, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I can't even imagine. I hope you are able to make your connection and spend quality time with your loved ones. Do you mind if I tell the flight attendant about your situation? I can see he is quite overworked and stressed out and I think understanding your situation would put everything in perspective for him. Please let me know.

Tweet 16: I can hear her struggling to breathe.

Tweet 17: Elan, please feel free to tell him. I am simply not able to talk about it. I appreciate your consideration both to myself and others. Please relay my deepest apologies to him for my behavior.

Tweet 18: Just got off the plane. Explained Diane's situation to the airline staff and asked if they could make sure she made her connection.

Tweet 19: As soon as she got off she came up to me crying and gave me a hug. She thanked me for my kindness. If only she knew how much she gave me...

Tweet 20: I saw the other airline workers smiling. They seemed really touched by our interaction. I gave her one last note with my full name and email. I asked her to stay in touch and send me a picture of her with her family at Thanksgiving...

Sara Esther Crispe is the Co-Director of Interinclusion as well as a writer and motivational speaker. She lives with her husband and four children in Merion, PA.