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A Black flight attendant shared an unexpectedly uplifting exchange with a white Fortune 500 CEO

Sometimes a random encounter turns out to be not so random at all.

JacqueRae Hill, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, shared one such encounter on Facebook. She said that her heart has been heavy with everything going on, which is especially hard hard when your job is to put a smile on people's face. But something happened on a recent flight that lifted her spirits.

She wrote:

"As we are boarding my first flight of the day I smile and I greet people when they come on and a man was holding a book that has been on my to read list. The book is entitled White Fragility. I was so happy to see that book in his grasp that I knew after I finished my duties I was going to make a point to ask him about it. I go sit next to him as he was sitting in a row all by himself (That was God). I said Hey How are you? I see you are reading that book .. So how is it? He replies oh I'm half way through it's really good. It really points out how important these conversations on race are. As I began to respond the tears just start falling . I have been so sad every day and I just want to understand and be understood so we can began to fix it.


I'm pretty sure I startled him by seemingly dumping all my emotions on him but his reply was "I'm so sorry. And it's our fault that this is like this. We continued to talk and when I tell you it was everything I needed. I was happy ( even tho I was crying ). I went on to tell him about my prayer on my way to work today and that he Answered that prayer for me with this conversation. As our conversation came to an end he asks me my name I told him JacqueRae and then he said well I'm Doug Parker the CEO of American Airlines. I told him my mother works for him in DC and then I reached over and gave him a BIG HUG ! I HAD TO!! (yes we were both masked) I thanked him for being open and allowing this conversation to happen because I just needed to hear it and I walked off. I thanked God for his LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS the rest of the Flight. On his way off the plane he hands me a handwritten note and I thank him again and ask for this pic. This encounter is Only A Holy Spirit thing!!!!

There are so many different ways to affect change in the world. I stand with anyone who wants to make a difference no matter if it is how I would do it or not. I believe that God answered my prayer so perfectly that I want to be apart of an answered prayer for someone else. I'm following behind my sister Audresha Lynn by saying LETS TALK !! Doug Parker said that the premise of the book is that we need to have these conversations so here I am. My heart is open and my ears are open as well. BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING."

The note Parker wrote to her said:

"Thank you so much for coming back to speak with me. It was a gift from God and an inspiration to me. I am saddened that we as a society have progressed so slowly on an issue that has such a clear right v.s wrong. Much of the problem is we don't talk about it enough. Thank you for talking to me and sharing your emotion. That took courage. The book, White Fragility, is great. But it's more for people like me than you (a black friend recommended it to me). I really appreciate you. If you'd like to continue the conversation, my email is [blacked out]. Thank you! Doug

P.S. Say hello to your mother for me."

Hill's also shared a message from her mother, Patti Anderson, to Doug Anderson, and the beautiful exchanges just keep on going.

JacqueRae S. Hill/Facebook

Hill shared that CNN Travel picked up her story and interviewed her via video call, so we can hear some of the story in her own voice.

[facebook https://www.facebook.com/jacquerae.hill/videos/10156166752157706/?__xts__[0]=68.ARAzZqYx6Xi3WGu5xbAv8eyAnfPyap4JRvzfD5Ic0o4OWoEtB-Pd4mCBkEvFoZ3x66R59k9G81HP4OJ_U8m-zhV0Pd8irEaPMSFbymaqeAgr8c6pbudv5cCIbjgy2LC2BEUiZOAmJWzoAxW1aeN-vTKR2BedUJD9aE1FuhuJ6i7alKHMXmC1YXIPIY9QQDDHSt01jJN_axJXjpPCdOrJJ6IAyfUMMw&__tn__=-R expand=1]

You never know when a seemingly small action—like reading a book to better understand the realities of race and racism in our society—might made a big difference to someone who sees it. Knowing that someone in charge of an enormous company is doing that personal work—and not just for a photo op or PR display—is heartening to see, as the lessons learned will hopefully trickle down through that business and beyond.

Thank you for sharing, Ms. Hill. Seeing this kind of encounter play out offers us all a taste of hope in a time of difficult, but necessary, upheaval and change.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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