If you’ve started to dread going to the airport as much as you dread going to the dentist, this story might change your mind. Taylor Tippett is a 22-year-old American Airlines flight attendant who has taken an entirely different approach to most airlines’ in-and-out brand of customer service by leaving anonymous notes for her passengers to find in their seats.
Tippett, a flight attendant based out of DC who lives in Chicago, has been documenting not only her travels, but the notes she leaves for airline passengers in her “Words From the Window Seat” photo series over the past year. Tippett tracks each inspirational (and unsigned) note she leaves on her personal blog, A Travelin Lady, and her Instagram account, that has 124,000 followers and counting. The empowering project began when Tippett wrote a personal reminder to herself to help her make it through the rigors of flight attendant training: “Remember your courage.”
Tippett then transformed this idea into a project, in which she tucks inspirational, hand-written notes into the airplane seat pockets for passengers to find. To document her work, she also photographs the notes in an airplane window and posts them to her blog. She believes that tucking the notes into the seat pockets makes them even more random and anonymous, increasing their potential for impact.
As Tippett explained to ABC News, the purpose of her viral photo project is as simple as it is sweet:
“I just want people to know that no matter what they’re going through, they are loved and their story and voice matters. At the end of the day, these may be just silly notes on the window, but if they can find hope to fight or smile and realize they’re not alone, it’s all worth it.”
Tippett has been taking Instagram by storm with her #wordsfromthewindowseat photos and #taystravelingsecrets that she uses to share insider travel tips with her followers.
Far and wide, Tippett is being praised for her grassroots efforts, but still has a few critical commenters telling her to, “get her head out of the clouds.” But what these critics may not understand is that in any situation, and especially in a stressful situation like air travel, a small act of kindness or word of encouragement goes a long way.
I used to be one of those people who loved to travel — even getting a thrill out of preparing for takeoff. But all that changed after I became a parent. Instead of relaxing and enjoying an adult beverage at 40,000 feet, I’ve become the extra-apologetic passenger who spends the entire flight on edge, worrying that my child is going to throw a tantrum in a tiny airbus that doesn’t have an escape route. In addition, since 9/11, most people are afraid to fly. And if it’s not an outright fear of attack, it’s a good, old-fashioned fear of air travel that has many passengers white-knuckling the armrests — regardless of the reality that flying is still one of the safest ways to travel.
Think of the difference this would make to someone with a crippling fear of air travel; the comfort they would find in such a small gesture. Because after all, sometimes all you need are three or four little words to remind you that you’re not alone.
“Joy is contagious, people,” Tippett says. “And loving others beyond circumstance is a beautiful way to start growing joy.”More On