Airplane seats numbers 1A B & C

 I don’t like to talk to strangers on an airplane.

But Christine does!

We recently flew from Durban to Cape Town to spend some time with my daughter and her husband. As we moved into our seats (yes 1B and 1C) Christine graciously took her place in the middle seat (1B) while I sat on aisle. (Sitting on the aisle is gift to Christine as I don’t want her to be hit by the serving trolleys and bumped by people walking past.

 Bandaged wrist

Anyway, there was an elderly lady sitting by the window (1A), with her wrist heavily bandaged. It was only a matter of minutes before Christine “inquired after her health” with particular focus on the bandaged wrist. (In the meantime, I am starting to work out why there was a change of time to our flight and is Mango afraid of flying with empty planes, and are less people travelling, and whew, that pilot is quite short, and I hope he can reach the peddles, and he also seems quite odd…….)

In the meantime, Christine continues her compassionate enquiry to the 84-year-old lady in seat 1A. And I can’t help overhearing the “old dear’s” story.

 Her Story

And, her story has led me to share it with you!

This old spinster had recently had a shoulder operation. The surgeon nicked a tendon nerve affecting the movement in her hand. It was sometime after the shoulder operation that she became more aware of the loss of movement and feeling in her hand. The result of the “nicked” tendon nerve.


3rd time in ten years.

The surgeon informed her that this was “only the 3rd time” in 10 years a thing like this had happened to him. I am not sure if this was a warning or reassuring! Anyway, he referred her to a hand surgeon to help with the loss of feeling and movement.

The hand surgeon was a lot more sympathetic to her and her situation. He had done some sort of “tendon transplant” on her hand.

 Real loss

 I then overheard her tell Christine, that her real struggle was the loss of two of her most important things. Driving her car (at 84, this may be a good thing for other road users) and playing the organ in her church!

And then the more surprising element came when she said, “I am still positive and I am not letting all this get me down”.

 I now felt humbled by this sweet, short bent over little old lady.

 New Zealand

Her story goes. She tells Christine she is on her way to visit her sister who was house sitting her daughter’s home in Cape Town. Her sister lived in New Zealand. And, our travelling companion knew that this would be the last time she would see her sister. She didn’t think that she would be able to travel to New Zealand to see her ever again.

Ran out of money

Oh yes! The reason why she was not going to be able to see her sister was because she didn’t have the money and not because she was 84! She didn’t have the money because she was between two medical aids and her hand op was considered a pre-existing condition. She decided not to sue the first doctor for her botched her shoulder operation.

 A moving story

After we disembarked and were walking to the car with Shani our daughter, we saw her and her sister walking arm in arm. It was quite moving.

This beautiful soul going through her fiery furnace without the smell of smoke.

 Thank you

 Her courage and faith left Christine and I humbled. In telling Christine her story, there was no bitterness or resentment, or anger. What a brave and generative woman. Thank you, lady in seat 1A.


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